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Three military pilots killed after accidental ejection from a warplane in Russia

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By Euronews with AP
A Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bomber strikes Islamic State targets in Syria in a photo from the Russian Defence Ministry. 2017
A Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bomber strikes Islamic State targets in Syria in a photo from the Russian Defence Ministry. 2017   -   Copyright  AP Photo/ Russian Defence Ministry Press Service
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Three Russian military pilots were killed when their ejection seats accidentally activated during pre-flight checks.

The incident happened on Tuesday at an airbase in the Kaluga region, said Russia's defence ministry.

The area is located around 145 kilometres southwest of Moscow.

The ejection system malfunctioned as they prepared for a training mission.

The altitude wasn't high enough for their parachutes to open, the ministry said. The members of the warplane crew died of their injuries.

An official investigation into the incident has been launched.

The Tu-22M3 is a supersonic twin-engine long-range bomber, which is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.