Missing Plane With 28 Passengers Crashes In Eastern Russia


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Varun Hukeri

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

A missing passenger plane crashed in Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka peninsula Tuesday, and all 28 people on board the plane have been presumed dead, according to multiple news outlets.

Local emergency and transport officials said the Soviet-era Antonov An-26 aircraft was flying from the regional capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to the village of Palana when it missed a scheduled communication and disappeared from radar, CNN reported.

An emergency services official said the crash likely occurred due to “difficult weather conditions” including cloudy and foggy weather, which led to poor visibility during the plane’s landing attempt, the independent Russian news agency Interfax reported.

The plane appeared to have collided into a hill near Palana and debris was found in the nearby Sea of Okhotsk, according to Russian state-backed news outlet Tass. Russia’s emergencies ministry released footage of the crash site earlier Tuesday.

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Russia’s emergencies ministry noted that a local search and rescue team was dispatched to the area Tuesday, including “specialists from the fire and rescue unit,” according to Tass. But the agency said “the search has not given any results” and multiple Russian and U.S. news outlets reported the 22 passengers and six crew members on board are presumed dead.

A spokesperson for Russia’s aviation agency Rosaviation confirmed to CNN that wreckage was found “near the hills on the coastline” about five kilometers from the Palana airport runway. The spokesperson added that “access to the aircraft is difficult” and the agency had “no information” about possible survivors.

The plane first entered service in 1982 and was operated by the regional airline Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise at the time of the crash, according to Tass. Its previous operators included Air Mali and the United Nations, and the aircraft had been flying in the Kamchatka peninsula since 2013.

Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise chief executive Aleksey Khrabov said in a statement Tuesday the plane that crashed had been maintained “in accordance with safety standards,” according to The New York Times.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the plane’s safety compliance. The Kamchatka transport prosecutor’s office said “prosecutorial response measures will be taken” if any safety violations are found in its investigation, CNN reported.

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