Shocking pictures show wreckage of supersonic Russian bomber after Arctic crash

Shocking pictures show wreckage of supersonic Russian bomber after Arctic crash

These are the first pictures of a Russian supersonic Tu-22M3 bomber that crashed in the Arctic killing three of its crew of four.

The aircraft broke up on impact with the main section bursting into a fireball.

The cockpit separated from the rest of the heavy bomber in impact in a hard landing in Murmansk region above the polar circle.

The Tupolev was not loaded with conventional or nuclear weapons when it crashed on Tuesday after the captain commander Major

Alexey Guryev evidently lost control as it landed at a remote airbase on a training flight.

The plane touched the runway but then bounced off, breaking up, according to reports.

The damaged cockpit is seen lying on its side in a snowfield an unknown distance from the rest of the wreckage which is visible charred.

Guryev, 37, died at the scene.

A tribute has been set up to the captain and the two other airmen who perished in the crash – co-pilot Konstantin Mazunin and navigator Viktor Greyf.

An emotional message honouring Greyf, 43, who died as he was rushed to hospital, was posted his teenage son on social media.
Kirill, 17, wrote: “You are my hero!

“You are the very best!”

Another navigator Maxim Rylkov survived the crash but was reported to be in a "grave" condition.

Guryev – a father of one – was from a dynasty of Russian air force pilots and had followed in the footsteps of his father German.

His eight year old son was named German after his grandfather.

It took more than two days for pictures of the tragedy to emerge and so far there is no footage of the incident.

There is implied criticism of the crew in an official accident report that leaked tonight (THURS).

It claimed the captain “allowed the landing of the aircraft without levelling”.

The unbalanced plane then broke apart with impact and began to “destroy”.

The cockpit and the rest of the aircraft which erupted in flames were detached.

“The crew did not respond the commands of flight management team and did not leave the aircraft,” said the leaked report.

“The fuselage burned down.”

A statement from the defence ministry soon after the crash said: "A Tu-22M3 plane made a hard landing after a training flight, due to a snow flurry.”

However, later reports said all options were being examined as to the cause.

“Currently, all possible versions of the incident, including a technical malfunction, are being considered,” said a military source.

The crash was at Olenya air base, near Olenegrosk, on the Kola Peninsula some 57 miles south of Murmansk city.

Aviation expert Vadim Lukashevich believed that the crash was likely caused by a vertical wind gust that suddenly hit the plane before touchdown, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

Accounts at the time suggested blizzard conditions.

The Tupolev bomber – an aircraft in service since the Soviet era – can strike targets 4,350 miles from base, and is a key war plane for potential deployment against the West.

It has a crew of four.

The crashed aircraft was reported to be 33 years old and underwent a major overhaul in 2012.

Military investigators have started the crash probe.

Last time a Tu-22M3 crashed in summer 2004 in Novgorod region, killing all four crew members.

The latest accident came less than a week after two Su-34 bombers collided in the Russian Far East during a scheduled training exercise last Friday.

Only one of the four crew members was rescue.

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