Azerbaijan Jet Was Accidentally Shot Down

LONDON (Reuter)-An Azerbaijan Airlines plane which crashed in flames earlier this year was hit by an accidental burst of machine-gun fire from a military exercise on the ground–data published Wednesday showed.

The jet-powered–short-range Yakovlev Yak-40 was on a training flight carrying three students from Azerbaijan’s national aviation academy and a crew of three. They all died in the crash on May 15 near Azerbaijan’s second largest city–Gyandzha. The information appeared in Flight International magazine’s six-month report on airline safety.

"Small-arms fire from a nearby army range hit the aircraft during a crew-training flight–fracturing an oxygen system and causing a serious fire which put the aircraft out of control. It dived into the ground," said the report.

At least this crash could be put down to incredible bad luck. In 1993–a Yak-40 crashed into a river in a remote part of Tajikistan shortly after taking off. Seventy-six people died on the plane–which was carrying 80 people–50 more than its capacity.

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