The Russian Defence Ministry has grounded its Il-76 heavy-lift cargo planes following an accident in which an engine broke off the wing of one of the aircraft just before take-off.

The Soviet-era cargo aircraft is barred from taking flights until the reason for the accident is determined and the condition of the fleet is checked, Associated Press reports.

The Il-76, is powered by four engines and can carry 40 metric tons of cargo including armoured vehicles, and has been the workhorse of the Soviet and Russian Air Force since the 1970s.

The accident occurred at the Severny air base when one of the plane’s four jet engines broke off after the pilot engaged full throttle in preparation for take-off.

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By GlobalData