Missiles fly out of control during air base fire in Russia

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

A video has surfaced online that appears to show at least two Russian missiles flying out of control after the Lodeynoe Pole air force base caught fire in St Petersburg on May 23.

The video, which was broadcast by BBC News is about 45 seconds long and shows at least two out of control missiles being launched from within the base as the fire rages on and landing nearby. No one was killed or injured when the missiles were set off, but witnesses report that several missiles "were flying over" their heads as they watched the blaze. Russian military officials initially denied the reports.

According to unnamed police officials investigating the fire, at least 400 to 450 air-to-air missiles were damaged or destroyed in the fire. Officials estimate that the cost of the damage could exceed 80 to 100 million United States dollars.

"The fire destroyed 450 rockets of the air-to-air class. We have yet to establish how many of them exploded and how many were damaged by fire, but in any case they can't be used," said an unnamed Russian official as quoted by the International Herald Tribune which quoted Interfax. The base housed missiles and Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet planes.