Two pilots escape Russian bomber crash

Dec. 19, 2008 at 12:27 PM

MOSCOW, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Two pilots of a tactical military bomber safely ejected before their aircraft crashed Friday, a Russian Air Force spokesman said.

Col. Vladimir Drik said the crash of the Su-24M Fencer bomber occurred nearly 24 miles from the southwestern city of Voronezh and that there was no damage to ground sites, RIA Novosti reported.

As a precaution all Su-24M bomber flights had been suspended pending a full investigation into the crash, Drik said.

A Russian Defense Ministry source said a malfunction in the airplane's flight control system was likely the cause of the crash.

RIA Novosti said the Russian Air Force has been using the tactical aircraft since the 1970s, but is expected to slowly replace the Su-24 vessels with new Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft.

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