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Iran says fighter jet crashes after engine failure, pilots survive

US-made Grumman F-14 Tomcat crashes near central city of Isfahan; footage shows large smoke column

In this September 23, 2015 file photo, Iranian soldiers take a picture with a Winnie the Pooh character next to a F-14 fighter jet in an exhibition of achievements and equipment of Iran's air force in Tehran, Iran. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)
In this September 23, 2015 file photo, Iranian soldiers take a picture with a Winnie the Pooh character next to a F-14 fighter jet in an exhibition of achievements and equipment of Iran's air force in Tehran, Iran. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

TEHRAN — An Iranian fighter plane crashed near the central city of Isfahan on Saturday after its engine failed, but both pilots survived, media reported.

The pilots were taken to a local hospital, the official IRNA news agency said. It said there was a technical failure in the engine of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat that led to the crash.

A clip by the agency showed columns of smoke billowing from the remains of the aircraft in a desert area.

Iran’s air force has an assortment of US-made military aircraft purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the Tomcat F-14 is American-made. It also has Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi planes. Decades of Western sanctions have made it hard to obtain spare parts and maintain the aging aircraft.

Iran has a history of similar crashes among its faltering fleet. In May, a fighter jet crashed in the central desert of Iran, killing both pilots.

In February, a fighter jet plunged into a soccer field in the country’s northwestern city of Tabriz, killing both pilots and a civilian.

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