Fighter jets collide, crash into houses near Moscow

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Su-27 with the Russian Knights

Two Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets have collided in mid-air and at least one has crashed into houses near Moscow, Russia. One pilot has died and five people on the ground were injured in the accident near Zhukovsky Airfield.

The jets were practising for the upcoming MAKS Airshow, which is set to start on Tuesday. Both were with the display team Russian Knights. Two pilots were able to eject safely and were rescued by emergency personnel; a third pilot, the Knights's commander, was killed.

Reports are conflicting as to whether one or both of the aircraft subsequently crashed into nearby houses. Three houses were set alight and debris was spread over a large area. One woman is reported to have serious burns.

The dead man has been identified as 45-year-old Col. Igor Tkachenko, a decorated officer in the air force.