A military aircraft has crashed in a residential area of the southern Russian town of Yeysk, killing at least four people and injuring up to 25.
An apartment block was set on fire and emergency services called in. A nearby school was evacuated, reports say.
Russia’s defence ministry said the plane, a Su-34 fighter bomber, was on a training flight when one of its engines caught fire on Monday evening.
The pilots in the aircraft ejected before the crash, the ministry said.
Footage has emerged apparently showing local residents trying to help one of the pilots lying on the ground nearby with a parachute behind him.
“According to a report from the pilots, who jettisoned from the plane, the reason for the crash was a fire in one of the engines during take-off,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
“At the point where the Su-34 came down, in the courtyard of a residential block, the plane’s fuel supply caught fire.”
In a telegram post (in Russian), the governor of the Krasnodar territory, which Yeysk is part of, said he was on his way to the town and all regional and local fire services were battling the blaze.
Local media report the fire engulfed five floors of the multi-storey building.
Two of the building’s blocks caught fire, a local correspondent in Yeysk told Russia’s state-run TV channel Rossiya 24.
A nearby secondary school’s students were successfully evacuated, according to the Russian website Vesti.ru.
Senior government officials have been dispatched to coordinate a crisis response center, and the Kremlin has ordered national and regional authorities to provide “all necessary assistance” to victims of the fire in the center of Yeysk.
Without citing a cause, the Russian Investigative Committee announced that a criminal investigation had been launched and that investigators had been dispatched to the crash site.
Yeysk is located in southern Ukraine, across from Russian-occupied territory, and is divided from it by the Sea of Azov.
A significant training ground for Russia’s naval aviation has been the city.