The Story of 2 Su-34 Pilots Which Survived After Being Shot Down by a Ukrainian Missile

The Story of 2 Su-34 Pilots Which Survived After Being Shot Down by a Ukrainian Missile
The Story of 2 Su-34 Pilots Which Survived After Being Shot Down by a Ukrainian Missile

International Military - The war between Russia and Ukraine which has been going on for nine months since February 24 and until now has not ended, gave birth to many stories of battles that will one day be written.

One of them is the story of a Russian Su-34 pilot who was shot down by a Ukrainian missile. The two Su-34 crew almost died in the hands of the Ukrainian ground forces after they were ejected from the plane and broke their bones.

But fate said otherwise, both of them survived and they were able to return to Russia and get awards as Heroes of Russia.

In the “Time of Heroes” program on the Red Star television channel, pilot Senior Lieutenant Pyotr Kashtanov who flew with navigator/weapons operator Nikolai Koptilov tells his story.

On a September day in 2022, the two are tasked with destroying enemy (Ukrainian) military equipment and facilities. The two flew in a duck-billed fighter-bomber that had side-by-side seats in the cockpit. Long story short, the mission was successfully carried out and they immediately wanted to return to the aircraft base.

But suddenly, a missile flew towards their plane and directly hit the right half of the plane at the rear. The plane suddenly turned and there were only 3-4 seconds left to make a decision in this emergency. With great difficulty, Kashtanov tried to control the plane, but to no avail. Because the plane's altitude was very low, the two Su-34 crew members immediately pulled the ejection seat belts and managed to escape from the plane.

As a result of the rough landing, both of them suffered broken bones. Kashtanov suffered a broken right arm. Meanwhile, Koptilov suffered a spinal fracture and was unconscious. Kashtanov immediately rushed to his friend. After being resuscitated, Koptilov instead asked Kashtanov to leave him immediately and save himself.

“Nikolai, I will only go with you,” said Kastanov calling out to his partner. Kashtanov finally decided to pull Koptilov 30 meters away so he could hide in the forest. They crossed the swamp and injected painkillers.

At the same time, a number of Ukrainian ground troops in three cars rushed towards the landing site of the Kashtanov and Koptilov ejects. They began to scatter in search of the two Russian pilots.

Realizing the bad situation, Kashtanov immediately took out a grenade with one hand that was still movable. Likewise with Koptilov, taking out a grenade and ready to pull the pin when needed. "We are ready to blow ourselves up so we don't get captured," said Kashtanov, who was commander of the mission.

Soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces crossed them at ever closer distances, only 5-7 m from where Kashtanov and Koptilov were hiding. By some miracle, the Ukrainian ground forces did not know that two Russian pilots were hiding with their broken bones.

“I even remember the face of someone from them,” said Kashtanov during an interview. As they were walking away, Nikolai said, “They're gone, Peter. We will live longer!” Unexpectedly, suddenly an artillery barrage fell near the Ukrainian troops. They quickly left the location quickly.

Five hours later, Kashtanov and Koptilov lay where they were without speaking. Both are trying to heal and do not want to give up on circumstances.

After re-gathering energy, they returned to continue the long and dangerous journey. “We walked all night, 13 hours, through fields and forest paths,” says Kashtanov. Finally, they arrived at a village. Even so, to enter the village, they were still unsure about the troops that were there.

Suddenly Koptilov saw a combat vehicle emblazoned with the letter "Z" drive by. That was enough of a sign that the village was occupied by Russian troops. They then approached a house and knocked on the door.

An old man opened the door, then greeted them and gave them a drink. It was the grandfather who then informed other Russian troops about the presence of two Su-34 pilots at his house in need of help.

Not long after, Russian troops came to the house. Kashtanov and Koptilov were embraced by Russian troops who had come to evacuate him. “Be thankful, you guys are still alive!” said the arriving Russian troops. Kashtanov and Koptilov were evacuated and brought back to Russia.

Senior Lieutenant Pyotr Kashtanov was later awarded the title of Hero of Russia by the Russian government for his services in the battle.

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