Iran plane crash: At least three killed as military jet comes down near school

Local army official praised the pilots for ‘sacrificing’ their lives in an effort to prevent the planes from crashing in a residential area

Monday 21 February 2022 07:50
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<p>File: An Iranian F-5 fighter jet lands in Chabahar city, south of Iran during a military exercise on 23 June 2009</p>

File: An Iranian F-5 fighter jet lands in Chabahar city, south of Iran during a military exercise on 23 June 2009

A military aircraft has crashed near a school in Tabriz, Iran, killing both its pilots and at least one person on the ground, according to state media reports.

The F-5 fighter hit the ground near a school, which was closed at the time, and a sports hall, said the local media report. The crash led to a huge blaze at the centre, requiring the support of fire fighters.

The third person who died in the crash was in his car, reported Iran’s Mehr News Agency. The authorities are probing the cause of the incident.

Local army official Reza Yousefi said that the plane was being used for training and crashed due to technical issues, as he praised the pilots for “laying down their lives” in an effort to prevent the planes from crashing in a residential area.

“These two pilots laid down their lives so the plane wouldn’t hit residential areas,” Yousefi was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera. “They could have ejected but they stayed and managed to veer it towards a non-residential area.”

Iran’s air force has an assortment of US-made military aircraft that were purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, along with Russian-made MIG and Sukhoi planes. The decades of western sanctions have had an impact on the country’s ability to maintain its fleet.

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