The accident was caused by an abnormal operation of the catapult
Three crew members of a Russian bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons were killed by an abnormal operation of a catapult before takeoff at an airfield near Kaluga.
The incident occurred on Tuesday as a crew of four was preparing for a training flight on the Tu-22M3 strategic bomber, numerous media outlets reported, including Topnews.
This is an aircraft developed in the USSR in the 1960s.
The Russian Ministry of Defense later confirmed that the cause of the deaths was “an abnormal actuation of the bailout system,” which caused the servicemen to be thrown out of the plane shortly before takeoff.
“Due to the insufficient height to deploy the parachutes, three crew members received injuries incompatible with life upon landing,” TASS reported, citing the military department.
An anonymous source told TASS that the fourth member of the bomber’s crew survived and was taken to hospital. The authorities have not yet officially confirmed the nature of the injuries associated with the incident.