Three crew members of a Russian nuclear bomber have reportedly been killed after an ejector seat was believed to have been accidentally triggered as the crew prepared for departure.
The incident unfolded on Tuesday ahead of a training flight departing from the Shaykovka military airfield, according to multiple reports, including from Russia’s TASS news agency.
The agency said the incident involved a supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M3 aircraft, a Soviet-era strike bomber developed in the mid-1960s.
Russia’s military department told the agency that an “abnormal operation” of the ejection system occurred, in a statement translated from Russian.
The department said that with insufficient space to deploy parachutes, three crew members suffered injuries “incompatible with life” in the incident.
Citing an unnamed source in the medical community, TASS reported that one crew member survived the incident and had been taken to an infirmary nearby. That has yet to be confirmed, however.
An investigation is reportedly underway to determine the exact cause of the incident.
This is a developing story and it will be updated as more information becomes available.