Ukrainian Plane Hits Spectators
Jul. 27, 2002
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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ A fighter plane crashed into a huge crowd of spectators at an air show Saturday, killing at least 20 people and injuring 80 others in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, emergency officials said.
A huge plume of black smoke could be seen above the Skniliv Airport. Russian television showed people with bleeding head wounds, apparently having been hit by parts of the plane. People screamed in panic and ambulances raced to the scene.
According to preliminary reports, the pilots of the Su-27 ejected and survived, but the jet crashed into the crowd, killing as many as 20 people, the press service of the Defense Ministry said.
Thousands of people were watching the air show. The weather was good.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma cut short his vacation and immediately flew to Lviv, NTV television reported.
The ITAR-Tass news agency said 80 people, including children, were injured.
The number of victims was preliminary and cause of the accident remained unknown, the Emergency Situations ministry said. About 20 ambulances were used to help the victims, according to the Interfax news agency.
NTV quoted witness Lyubov Sorokina as saying the plane had clipped a tree while performing aerial maneuvers.
The show marked the 60th anniversary of a local air force unit, and featured Su-27s and Mig-29 warplanes, as well as gliders, propeller-driven planes and parachute jumping, Interfax said.