YEYSK, Russia (Reuters) -A Russian fighter plane crashed into a residential building in the southern city of Yeysk shortly after take-off on Monday, engulfing apartments in a fireball and killing at least 13 people, Interfax news agency reported.
A further 19 people suffered injuries, agencies quoted local officials as saying. Yeysk is separated from occupied Russian territory in southern Ukraine by a narrow stretch of the Sea of Azov.
Military news channel Zvezda published video appearing to show explosions aboard the Sukhoi Su-34 supersonic medium-range fighter-bomber as it plunged towards the apartments. Russian agencies said the pilots had ejected.
Footage from the site showed large parts of the nine-storey building on fire after the crash. Local authorities later said the blaze had been put out.
Krasnodar regional governor Veniamin Kondratyev denied local reports the plane had been loaded with ammunition.
“If that had been the case, then only half the building would be here,” RIA cited him as telling reporters.
Around 250 people were evacuated, including 40 children, authorities said.
RIA said the crash took place during a training flight from a military airfield. It quoted the defence ministry as saying the pilots reported an engine had caught fire on takeoff, and the plane’s fuel had then ignited when it struck the building.
Russia’s state Investigative Committee, which deals with serious crimes, said it had opened a criminal case and sent investigators to the scene.
The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had ordered all necessary help to be provided to victims. He also ordered the health minister to fly to the region.
The incident comes nearly eight months after Russia sent its troops into Ukraine.
(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, David Ljunggren, Angus MacSwan and Sandra Maler)