Two Pilots Killed In Military Plane Crash In Belarus

A military jet exploded after crashing into the ground near private houses on the outskirts of the city of Baranavichy in western Belarus, killing two pilots.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said in a statement on May 19 that the Yak-130 aircraft from a military airbase located in the city of Lida, suffered a technical malfunction during a training flight.

"The pilots showed courage and heroism, trying to divert the falling plane from a village. After making sure that the trajectory of the plane crash was outside the residential buildings, the pilots ejected. Unfortunately, both pilots died," the ministry’s statement said.

It named the deceased as Major Andrey Nichyparchyk, a combat squadron commander in charge of the training, and pilot Lieutenant Mikita Kukanenka.

The independent online media outlet Tut.by placed videos and pictures on Telegram from the site of the accident, showing debris from the crash that hit vehicles and buildings near a residential area.

Witnesses say, the explosion shattered windows in dozens of apartment blocks in the vicinity.

Rescue teams and firefighters are working at the site.