Two Russian pilots killed in failed parachute landing after Tu-95 'bear bomber' crash

6:09:00 PM
MOSCOW, -- Two Russian pilots have died in a dramatic failed parachute landing after all four engines of a Tu-95 bomber failed during a training flight.

The ageing aircraft, nicknamed the 'Bear', was taking part in a mission over eastern Russia when the incident occurred.

Tu-95 is the same type as those deployed by Russian president Vladimir Putin to fly close to Britain and other NATO countries amid the current tension over the Ukraine crisis.

The seven man crew parachuted from the plane but the two pilots died as they landed near Khabarovsk, according to Russian reports.

"Both pilots were killed," said the Moscow defence ministry in a statement.

The other five crew members were found alive and in a "satisfactory" condition after parachuting from the doomed plane.

They were taken to hospital in Khabarovsk but their lives were not in danger, said military sources.

The giant Soviet-era aircraft was on a training mission and was not carrying missiles when it crashed.

However, the incident is the latest in a spate of accidents involving Russian military aircraft, which will raise searching questions over air safety in Putin's increasingly desperate air force.

The crash led to the immediate grounding of the turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform, which has been in service since 1957.

This was the sixth accident involving Russian military aircraft this summer.

The ministry said the crash was probably caused by a "malfunction" but TASS news agency cited sources saying a failure of the plane's fuel valves led to the simultaneous failure of all four engines.

The Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber and missile platform. Most recent Russian crashes include   two Tu-95s, a Su-24 Fencer, two Mig-29 Fulcrums and a modern Su-34 Fullback.

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