Criminal case opened into Su-24 bomber incident in Rostov region

A criminal case on charges of violation of flight regulations and preparations for flights has been opened into an incident involving a Su-24 frontline bomber in the Rostov region, the Investigative Committee reported on Saturday.

"The Investigative Committee's military investigations department for the Rostov garrison has opened a criminal case under Criminal Code Article 351 (violation of flight regulations or preparations for flights) into an incident involving a Su-24 plane," it said.

It has been determined preliminarily that, while approaching for landing after a training flight at 0:38 a.m. Moscow time Saturday, a Su-24 deviated from the planned course.

"For so far undetermined reasons, the drag chute was torn off during the landing, causing the plane to overrun the runway and burst into flames. Both crewmembers ejected in these circumstances," it said.

Emergency services extinguished the fire, which partly destroyed the plane. Military investigators are currently examining the scene, collecting the flight documents, and questioning witnesses, it added.

It was reported earlier on Saturday that a Su-24 frontline bomber had been destroyed by fire at a military airfield in Morozovsk, the Rostov region. Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov told Interfax-AVN: "Commanders have reported that, while the plane was landing, its drag chute was torn off, causing the plane to overrun the runway by 400 meters."

Later reports said the plane actually overran the runway by 1,500 meters.

Konashenkov confirmed that the pilots who ejected from the plane were in satisfactory condition.

Following the incident, the Russian Air Force suspended all flights of Su-24M bombers pending an inquiry into the incident.

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