3 Military Pilots Dead In Russian Bomber Accident

Moscow, 23 Mar (AFP): Three military pilots died in Russia on Tuesday when ejection seats of their Tu-22 strategic bomber malfunctioned, the Russian defence ministry said.
“An ejection system malfunctioned during a planned preparation on the ground for a Tu-22M3 flight at an airfield in the Kaluga region,” the defence ministry said.
Three crew members received fatal injuries due to the “insufficient height to deploy parachutes,” the defence ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
A state commission has been sent to the scene near the city of Kaluga some 190 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of the capital Moscow to inspect the bomber and look into the reasons of the accident.
A defence ministry spokeswoman declined to give further details when reached by AFP.
State news agency TASS quoted a source as saying that one crew member had survived.
Designed in the Soviet era, Tu-22M3 hypersonic strategic bombers were used by Russia in Syria, among other campaigns.
Accidents involving Russian civilian and warplanes are fairly common, usually caused by technical malfunction or human error.
Three people died when a Tu-22M bomber crashed in the northern Murmansk region in January, 2019.