04:53 GMT06 August 2021
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    A Russian Su-30SM fighter crashed in Syria, with both pilots having perished in the incident, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

    The plane crashed over the Mediterranean Sea, shortly after it took off from the Hmeymim airbase in Syria, the ministry added.

    "A Russian Su-30SM fighter plane crashed over the Mediterranean Sea at around 9:45 a.m. Moscow time [06:45 GMT] when gaining height after taking off from the Hmeymim airfield. Both pilots, which were fighting to save the plane until the last moment, died," the statement read.

    According to the ministry, the plane was not shot down.

    "According to preliminary information, a bird strike may have caused the crash," it said.

    ​The last similar incident occurred in March, when a Russian An-26 military transport aircraft crashed during landing at Hmeymim airfield, killing the 33 passengers and six crew members on board.

    Russia, Russian Defense Ministry, Su-30SM, Hmeymim airbase, crash
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