Tehran, Iran – Three people have been killed after an army warplane crashed in an urban area in Iran’s Tabriz.
Two pilots and a civilian sitting in a parked vehicle were killed in the incident.
Local army official Reza Yousefi told state media at the site of the crash that the aircraft – an F5 model used for training – crashed due to technical issues.
He lauded the two pilots for “sacrificing” themselves as they managed to avoid residential areas and land the plane in an open area next to a sports complex.
In addition to hitting the civilian’s car, the plane hit the side of a school that was empty due to COVID-19 restrictions, he said.
“These two pilots laid down their lives so the plane wouldn’t hit residential areas. They could have ejected but they stayed and managed to veer it toward a non-residential area,” Yousefi said.
An army spokesman confirmed Yousefi’s account and said the incident took place at approximately 8am (04:30 GMT), and identified the pilots as Sadegh Falahi and Alireza Hanifehzad.