SANAA, YEMEN — A Russian-made Yemeni military jet ploughed into a residential district of the capital Sanaa on Monday, killing the pilot, officials said, and witnesses said it exploded in mid-air before crashing.
The Sukhoi crashed into “Al-Asbahi residential district in southern Sanaa,” a military official told AFP.
Witnesses said the plane exploded in the air before crashing, and debris from the aircraft scattered across the area, causing light damage to buildings and shattering windows.
The defence ministry said on its website 26sep.net that the Sukhoi SU-22 attack aircraft was returning from a “usual training mission in (the eastern) Marib and Khawlan regions.”
An air force source confirmed to 26sep.net that only “the pilot, Captain Hani al-Aghbari, was killed in the accident” as the plane fell into a sparsely populated area.
The defense ministry set up a committee to probe the incident, said 26sep.net.
The accident is the second of its kind in the capital this year after 12 people died in February when another military aircraft ploughed into a building in a residential area.
That plane had also been identified as a Sukhoi SU-22 that had been on a training mission.
An air base is near the Sanaa international airport, just 15 kilometers (nine miles) north of the capital.
Such air accidents are common in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.
In November, a Yemeni air force Antonov M26 crashed during a training mission in a northern district of Sanaa, killing all 10 on board.
A fighter jet crashed on takeoff on a routine training mission in the south in October, killing the pilot and injuring another crew member, after what the defense ministry described as a “technical failure.”
And in October 2011, four people were killed when an Antonov crashed on landing at Al-Anad air base in southern Yemen.