- The fighter jet appeared to mistime a stunt and crashed hard into a nearby field
This is the terrifying moment a veteran fighter jet crashed beside a road and burst into flames, killing its two-man crew just seconds after an airshow fly-past.
The Soviet-era L-29 Delfin training jet had been performing at a display in Villa Canas, Santa Fe province, Argentina, on November 12 when it erupted into flames.
Spectator footage of the performance shows the 500mph jet making a very low-level pass over the runway as it buzzed thrilled audience members.
But seconds later, the jet banks to the right to perform a loop-the-loop stunt and apparently fails to pull up in time, unable to pull up in time to fix the mistake.
As the crowd gasps in horror, the jet hurtles down toward the ground and bursts into flames, smashing into a field yards from a busy road.
Police named the plane’s co-pilot as Gaston Vanucci and his pilot as air acrobatics specialist Gaston Vanucci. Both perished before rescuers could reach the plane.
The Soviet-era L-29 Delfin training jet had just performed a fly-past at the show in Argentine
The jet turned to perform a loop-the-loop stunt but apparently failed to pull up in time
L29s became a mainstay of Soviet air forces across communist eastern Europe after they came into production in 1959.
The Czech-made two-seaters were used to train combat pilots and were often adapted for combat roles as fighter bombers.
Villa Canas Fire Chief Horacio Pereyra told local media that the plane ‘crashed a few metres from where the public was witnessing the spectacle’.
Pereyra said the jet ‘made a low flight and when it finished crossing the runway at one of the runways, it made a half spin and then plummeted to the ground.’
Officials at the air club hosting the display said: ‘The plane made a low flight over the post and when it was leaving, while making a turn, it landed on its end.
‘Two people were aboard the plane, which is a combat aircraft. It is a Russian plane with a pilot and a passenger in the back.’
Villa Canas mayor Norberto Gizzi said: ‘We are all moved by the event and stunned because everyone who was at the event was surprised to see how the plane fell.’
From a distance, the plane could be seen diving towards the ground as the crowd looked on in horror
The jet hurtled down toward the ground and bursts into flames, smashing into a field
Smoke billowed after the jet crashed suddenly into the ground, killing both on board
The Aero L-29 Delfin was introduced in 1961, built as a military trainer aircraft with light attack functionality.
It was Czechoslovakia’s first locally designed and built jet aircraft and used for training purposes across the Warsaw Pact nations during the Cold War.
More than 3,500 were produced between 1963 and 1974 – and some were reported to have seen combat in the Nigerian Civil War and against Israel in the Yom Kippur War.
Angola and Georgia were reported to still be using the planes as of 2022.