Russian jets collide during training flight

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Two Russian Su-27 fighter jets collided during a training flight ahead of an air show near Moscow today, Russian news agencies reported.

The pilots, from elite aerobatic team the Russian Knights, parachuted to safety, they said.

"The jets collided about 5 km (3 miles) from Zhukovsky airfield," RIA news agency quoted a witness as saying. "There is thick smoke over the site. We saw two parachutes in the air after the collision."

Itar-Tass news agency quoted the management of the MAKS aviation and space show as saying the pilots escaped safely.

The MAKS press office refused to comment.

Russia is seeking to turn MAKS, which starts next week at the Zhukovsky airfield, into a leading international aviation and space exhibition and a venue for striking major contracts.

The event attracts tens of thousands of spectators.

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