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Saturday, June 12, 1999 Published at 22:25 GMT 23:25 UK

World: Europe

Fighter plane drama at air show

The crew ejected before the jet crashed

One of Russia's most advanced fighter planes has crashed at the Paris air show.

Watch the last seconds of the Sukhoi-30
The two-seater Sukhoi-30 went down in an area away from the crowds during press day at the prestigious event in France.

The plane had just finished a diving manoeuvre and was levelling out just yards from eth ground when spectators saw the first signs of trouble.

Flame burst from the engine and the Sukhoi began a steep, almost vertical climb.

Seconds later the two crew ejected from the plane as it began to twist in the air.

One spectator said: "The aircraft seemed to lose power. The tail caught the runway and the afterburners came on."

The accident occurred hours after French President Jacques Chirac inaugurated the eight-day air show.

No-one was reported to have been injured in the crash.

The two crew were taken to hospital for medical checks but were not thought to be injured.

Airshow spokesman Patrick Guerin said: "For the moment we don't know if it's a mechanical incident or if he flew too low."

The event, held every two years north of Paris, opens to the public on Sunday.

In 1989 a Russian Mig 29 crashed at the Paris show because of a bird strike.

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