Terrifying video of Tu-22M3 crash-landing at Olenegorsk air base
Three crewmembers died and a fourth is hospitalized with serious injuries after the crash mid-day on Tuesday January 22nd.
Now, a video recorded alongside the runway at the air base has leaked out and published on and Twitter and YouTube. Numerous Russian media republish the video over the weekend.
It is very bad visibility when the aircraft approaches the runway (at about 1:10 into the recording). 12 seconds after the landing lights of the military aircraft are seen out of the fog, the plane hit the runway and immediately broke into two. The cockpit part of the plane flips around and tumbles along the ground. The back part of the plane falls over and explodes into a huge fireball on the snow-covered ground.
Olenegorsk air base is about an hour drive south of Murmansk on Russia’s Arctic Kola Peninsula. The air field and the closed military town Vysoky is on the east side across Lake Permuso from the civilian mining town of Olenegorsk.
The 3,500-meter runway is the longest on the Kola Peninsula and serves as a forward deployment airport for long-ranged strategic bombers like the Tu-95 and Tu-160. Such strategic bombers, however, are not deployed in the north.
The crashed aircraft, in the video identified as “aircraft 35” belongs to either the 967th or the 924th Long Range Air Reconnaissance Air Regiment, both having a number of Tupolev TU-22Ms in operation.
Latest Google Earth satellite images from the air base shows 33 Tu-22 lined up, but how many of them are in operation is not possible to determine from the image.
Tu-22M3 is supersonic, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber capable of carrying the supersonic Kh-22/32 anti-ship missiles as well as the smaller Kh-15 missiles.
The crew of four consists of the pilot, a co-pilot, a navigator and a weapon system operator. Russian media reports that the plane which crashed on January 22nd was 33 years old, modernized in 2012, and was further due for a full modernization.