Three people have died after a fighter jet crashed into a stadium in a city in north-west Iran, according to reports.
The state-run news agency IRNA said the crash killed two pilots and a civilian.
The F-5 fighter crashed in a residential area of Tabriz, a city of 1.6 million residents. Authorities are investigating the incident.
General Reza Yousefi, commander of the air base in Tabriz, said the jet had been used for training and suffered a technical problem in the air.
“Pilots could not reach the runway,” he said.
Gen Yousefi added that in an effort to avoid crashing into the residential area, the pilots guided the jet to the stadium.
The report quoted Gen Yousefi as saying: “The Pilots sacrificed themselves – they could (have) used the ejection system, but they refused to do it.”
Instead, they headed for the stadium “to keep people safe”, he added.
A state TV reporter at the crash scene said the plane went down on a football pitch and because the width of the pitch was not long enough, it left the pitch and hit a school wall.
No one was inside. Schools were closed amid Iran’s sixth wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Iran’s air force has an assortment of US-made military aircraft purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
It also has Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi planes. Decades of Western sanctions have made it hard to maintain the aging fleet.