MOSCOW (Reuters) - An advanced Russian multi-role fighter plane crashed in Syria on Thursday morning shortly after take-off, killing both members of its crew, the Russian military was cited as saying by Russian news agencies.
The two-seater Sukhoi-30SM jet crashed after taking off from Russia's Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province. Agencies cited the Ministry of Defence in Moscow as saying its two crew members had tried in vain to save the plane until the last moment.
"According to preliminary information, the reason for the aviation disaster could have been birds getting into the engine," the RIA news agency cited the ministry as saying. The plane was not struck by any projectile."
The plane was among Russia's most advanced and performed its maiden flight in 2012. In Syria, it was used to launch air-to-ground missiles at rebel targets and to escort attack jets and strategic bombers.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Andrew Osborn)