(presidentialwire.com)- Social media videos captured the moment a Russian jet crashed shortly after takeoff from a Crimean airfield; according to one local account, the pilot did not manage to exit in time.
On Saturday, reports of a Mikoyan Mig-31 fighter coming down at the Belbek airfield in Sevastopol led to explosions and a fire uploaded on numerous social media platforms.
On the Russian peninsula that Ukraine annexed in 2014, some photos can be seen of beachgoers looking up at the coast’s heavy smoke and shell explosions.
According to the Baza Telegram channel, the military aircraft went off the runway upon landing, rolled down a mountain, and caught fire. An explosion happened as a result of ammunition going off on board. The pilot successfully abseiled.
On Saturday, Mikhail Razvozhayev, the head of the Sevastopol region under Russian administration, posted on Telegram about the unusual circumstances at Belbek Airfield. Rescuers said that the plane skidded off the runway and caught fire during landing.
Videos of the incident with quotes from Razvozhayev claiming that the pilot successfully evacuated were released on the Telegram account of a Sevastopol news organization.
There were two people on board, according to the local internet forum Sevastapol.info, but only the navigator was able to eject successfully, and the primary pilot, who was from Khotilovo in the Russian area of Tver, was unable to do so and perished.
The forum stated that Belbek is still engaged in military operations and that the airstrip was undamaged.
Residents in Crimea’s Kerch city near the same military base reportedly heard explosions in August. At the time, Razvozhayev had asserted that an air defense system had shot down a drone near the airstrip.
According to a Ukrainian official, this was an air base from which planes regularly took off for attacks against Ukrainian forces in the southern theater, and the explosion was caused by “a device exclusively of Ukrainian manufacture,” Ukraine claimed responsibility for the blasts in the annexed area.