Correction: The Russian Defense Ministry initially wrongly reported that two pilots had been rescued after the crash. The casualty count has been revised to one pilot rescued, two dead and one missing.
The pilot of a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bomber that collided with another Su-34 in Far East Russia has been pulled out of the sea alive, Russian media cited the military as saying Friday.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the two unarmed aircraft had been performing training flights over the Sea of Japan when they “touched” in the air. The ministry said it believes pilot error is to blame for the crash.
The pilot was reportedly recovered in satisfactory condition shortly after the collision. The Russian Defense Ministry later erroneously reported that a second pilot had been rescued as well, the state-run TASS news agency reported.
“From the first approach, the helicopter crew hovered over a liferaft and the pilot was raised aboard,” the ministry was quoted as saying in a statement.
The ministry later said that the initial report about the second pilot's rescue had been wrong, Interfax reported.
Later on Friday, the ministry reported that the dead body of a third pilot had been recovered in the search operation. The fourth pilot is still missing.