The tragedy was caught on video, apparently recorded by one of the airfield servicemen at an air base near the city of Olenegorsk. The video which leaked online, shows heavy fog covering the area during the January 22 incident, just seconds before the crash. The incident occurred on January 22nd, 2019 while the bomber was returning to Olenya Air Base in Russia’s frigid Murmansk Oblast around 1:30 pm local time, with reports of poor weather, possibly contributing to the incident that apparently killed three crewmen.
Three of the four-pilots died on the scene, while the commander of the aircraft miraculously survived. He was urgently driven to the hospital with serious injuries. An official investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the crash. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the bomber was on a routine training mission and initially they sad that the aircraft carried no weapons during the incident. However, later reports indicate the aircraft was armed with at least one Kh-22 long-range anti-ship missile and several hundred aircraft cannon ammo.
The Tupolev-22M3 is the modern and upgraded version of the supersonic long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber that first entered service in the 1970s. The latest, the M3M, unveiled last August, boasts upgraded avionics, new digital radio-navigation equipment, and a new communications system – and is set to become another carrier of the cutting-edge hypersonic Kinzhal missiles. The aircraft involved in this fatal accident was entered into service 33 years ago, but underwent a major overhaul in 2012 and was reportedly due for further modernization. Down below you can see the video of the accident.