An Iranian F-5 fighter jet crashed into a school compound in the northwestern city of Tabriz on Monday.killing two crew members and a bystander, authorities said.
“Fortunately, the school was closed due to the covid-19 pandemic”local official Mohammad-Bagher Honarvar told state television.
The plane was in a training mission when it fell around 9:00 am (05:30 GMT) in monk, a central district of the city, said Honavar, who heads a crisis management unit in East Azerbaijan province.
The head of the local Red Crescent organization said that the plane crashed into an external wall and that one of the dead was a neighbor.
I know caused a fire at the accident site and he saw the firefighters fighting the flames as a crowd looked on, in video footage from the official IRNA news agency.
The charred remains of the fighter plane could be seen in the rubble of the blackened facade of the school.
The plane had been stationed at Shahid Fakouri Air Base in Tabriz, base commander Gen. Reza Youssefi told the broadcaster, adding that he was returning from a training mission when he encountered a technical problem that prevented him from landing.
Iran’s air force has about 300 fighter planesmostly hunting MiG-29 and Sukhoi-25 Russians dating from the Soviet era, as well as Chinese F-7 and Mirage F1 French.
The fleet also includes some US F-4 aircraft and F-5 dating back to the Western-backed shah’s regime, which was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Experts say that only some of these planes are operational.
In August 2006, Iran announced that it had developed a new combat aircraft called “Azarakhsh” (Lightning) which he described as similar to the F-5.
A year later he introduced another homegrown jet calling it “saegheh” (Thunder), saying it was similar to the American F-18.
But some Western military experts have said that the Saegheh is a derivative of the F-5.
Monday’s fighter jet crash was the first accident involving a military aircraft reported by Iran since December 2019.
Back then, a fighter plane MiG-29 crashed near a dormant volcano in the northwest of the country during a test flight, according to official media.
Three days later the military confirmed the death of the pilot.
In January 2019, a military cargo plane skidded off the runwaycrashed and caught fire during a failed landing near the capital Tehran.
At the time, the army said that 15 people died in the accident.
A fighter plane too crashed in Tabriz during military exercises in September 2011local media reported.
Iran has been subject to severe US sanctions since 2018as the United States withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal struck three years earlier between Tehran and world powers.
are taking place talks in vienna to revive the deal and Iran is calling for the sanctions to be lifted.
(With information from AFP)