A Tu-22M3 supersonic strategic bomber has crashed in Russia’s north-west while trying to make a landing during a sudden snowstorm.
Two crew members died in the incident while two others were injured.
The bomber got into trouble after conducting a training exercise, the Russian defense ministry reported.
It attempted to make a landing at an air base near the city of Olenegorsk in Russia’s Murmansk region.
The aircraft was destroyed by the impact. Two crew members died on the spot while two others survived and were taken to a hospital for treatment, the ministry said.
The storm, which affected the aircraft, is of a rare kind that only happens in Arctic areas. It is almost impossible to predict and develops very rapidly, turning a calm day into a fierce and dangerous blizzard.
The Tupolev Tu-22M3 is a supersonic long-range bomber, which can carry nuclear air-to-surface missile. The model has been operational since the late 1980s. The aircraft that crashed in the Murmansk region had no weapons on board, according to the ministry statement.
The air base near Olenegorsk is operated by the long-range command of the Russian Air Forces and is one of several where Tu-22M3s are deployed.
The Russian military says one of its long-range bombers has crash-landed in the Arctic, killing two of its crew of four.
The Defence Ministry said the Tu-22M3 bomber crashed on Tuesday while landing in a blizzard in the Murmansk region north of the Arctic Circle. The ministry said two crew were killed while two others were taken to hospital.
“A Tu-22M3 plane made a hard landing after a training flight, due to going into a snow flurry,” falling apart on impact, TASS agency quoted the ministry as saying. “Two pilots have been sent to a medical facility … two crew members have died.”
The bomber wasn’t carrying any weapons, according to the ministry’s statement that was carried by Russian news agencies. There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash, other than the weather.
The Tu-22M3 is a twin-engined supersonic heavy bomber built in the 1980s.
South China Morning Post