Moment Russian pilot ejects from jet bomber captured on head camera

The quick-thinking pilot narrowly escaped death, ejecting with seconds to go before his jet crash-landed

An image taken from video and released by the Russian defence ministry press service on October 10 shows a Russian Su-25 jet firing rockets on a mission at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. AP
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Head camera footage shows the moment a Russian pilot ejected from his fighter jet at a low level over Ukraine, floating to earth by parachute before his jet flies out of control into a field and explodes.

The pilot grunts after making a hard landing in the field, narrowly surviving the parachute opening.

The jet — a Sukhoi SU-25 bomber — had been skimming over the landscape at treetop height. The footage, which was originally uploaded to a Russian military telegram channel, was posted on Twitter by military analyst Rob Lee.

Pilots on both sides in Ukraine often fly perilously close to the ground, making them invisible to enemy radar systems which are usually configured to detect higher flying targets.

The high-risk low flying gives enemy forces on the ground only seconds to react to enemy jets, but also leaves aircraft vulnerable to machinegun fire and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.

The SU-25 is a rugged jet designed solely for attacking troops and tanks on the ground and bristles with rockets and bombs. Slower than supersonic fighter bomber jets, it is armoured to compensate for what it lacks in speed — the pilot sits in an armoured “bathtub” for protection from ground fire.

It was not clear whether the pilot in this jet was protected from shrapnel after his aircraft was hit, but his quick reflexes undoubtedly saved his life.

Russia suffered another confirmed aviation loss on Sunday when a fighter jet crashed into a residential building near the Siberian city of Irkutsk. There were no immediate reports about casualties on the ground, or the pilot's plight.

Updated: October 23, 2022, 1:36 PM