1 of 6
Hani Mohammed, Associated Press
Yemeni security forces and soldiers gather at the site of a plane crash in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, May 13, 2013. A Yemeni military plane on a training exercise crashed Monday in the country's capital, slamming into a residential neighborhood and setting at least four houses ablaze, according to a military official and an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

SANAA, Yemen — A Yemeni military plane on a training exercise exploded in midair over the country's capital on Monday, killing the pilot and slamming into a residential neighborhood, according to an army official.

Fragments of the plane hit buildings on the ground in Sanaa and set small fires in four houses. Three people were slightly injured, according to the official.

The plane was a Russian-made Sukhoi Su-22 fighter. Military experts were investigating the cause of the incident, the Yemeni official said. He spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with military rules that prohibit personnel from speaking to reporters without authorization.

Comment on this story

Several ambulances were seen rushing to the site in southern Sanaa. Security forces cordoned off the area.

In February, a military plane flying on a training mission crashed in Sanaa, killing 10 people and destroying two houses.

Last month, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, on his first visit to Moscow, told reporters that he discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin the need for spare parts to the Russian-made tanks, planes and helicopters used by Yemen's military.

At the time, Hadi said the lifespan of some of these weapons has expired.