Ulf Mauder and Friedemann Kohler
MOSCOW — The death toll rose to 15 on Tuesday, a day after the crash of a Russian fighter jet in a residential area of Yeysk in southern Russia.
Six people were reported dead after the crash of a Su-34 fighter jet, a common aircraft used in the war against Ukraine. Earlier on Tuesday, the number initially rose to 13 dead and 25 injured. Later on Tuesday, another body was found in the rubble of a house, and another victim died in hospital.
Among the dead were three children, Russian authorities announced on Tuesday.
The fighter-bomber fell shortly after take-off, crashing directly next to an eight-storey apartment building, which was partially set on fire.
Residents of the house that caught fire died attempting to jump from the upper floors to escape the flames, according to Deputy Governor Anna Minkova.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is in deep mourning with the bereaved families in the wake of the disaster, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
According to the Defense Ministry, the plane crashed due to a technical defect, with an engine being said to have caught fire.
The jet had reportedly been on a training flight and had no ammunition on board. The pilots managed to save themselves.
A total of 72 homes were destroyed, with more than 500 people having to be brought to safety, authorities say.
The injured, who were being treated in hospitals in Krasnodar and Yeysk, received not only medical but also psychological help, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, who was present in the town during the incident, announced.
About 300 meters (984 feet) from the crash site is a school where, according to Russian media, 600 pupils were at the time, though none were injured.
Video footage showed a large explosion close to the high-rise building, followed by smaller detonations and part of the building visibly catching fire.
The spokesperson for jailed Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, Kira Yarmysh, said Russian fighter jets were now destroying homes not only in Ukraine but also at home.
“None of this would be happening if Putin had not started this war,” she said.
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