Long-range Tu-22M bomber crashes in Central Russia, three pilots killed

Russian long-range bomber aircraft Tu-22M crashed near the city of Kaluga in Central Russia on March 23.

The accident took place at the Shaikovka airfield as the aircraft was making an emergency landing. The plane had no weapons on board.

According  to most recent reports, three pilots have been killed in the cras, Interfax reports. Their catapults worked abnormally.

"According to preliminary data, an improper situation took place on the ground - the abnormal activation of the catapult. That is not a plane crash," a source told RIA Novosti. said the agency's interlocutor. There were no casualties among local residents.

UPDATE: The accident happened on the ground, when the pilots were ejected due to technical malfunction.

"Due to the insufficient altitude for parachutes to open up, three crew members received injuries incompatible with life," the Defense Ministry said.

The accident occurred during routine flight preparations on the ground.

One of the victims was the regiment commander, who was taking the instructor's seat.

UPDATE: It has been reported that one of the crew has survived. He had fastened his seat belts by the moment when the catapults worked, while others were in the process of fastening their seat belts.

The Tu-22M is a Soviet long-range supersonic bomber aircraft with variable sweep wing. This is a nuclear-capable aircraft. The bomber is designed to strike sea-based and ground-based targets with supersonic guided missiles day and night.

Tupolev Tu-22 bomber