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Ukraine: 25 dead in air force plane crash near Kharkiv

At least 25 people, including military cadets, were killed and two others seriously injured on Friday when a Ukrainian air force plane crashed near Kharkiv in the east of the country, the interior ministry said, according to AFP.

The Antonov-26 transport aircraft was carrying a total of 28 passengers when it crashed, including 21 military students and seven crew. The crash took place about two kilometers (1 mile) from the Chuhuiv military air base, emergency services said. The town of Chuhuiv is around 30 kilometers southeast of Kharkiv and 100 kilometers west of the front line with the pro-Russian [so-called] “separatists”.

UPDATE:

One of two Ukrainian cadets, who survived after the An-26 military transport plane crashed on Friday in the Kharkov region, died in hospital, the Ukrainian Emergencies Situations Service said on Saturday.

“As of 10:50 a.m. the person, who was in critical condition in hospital after the plane crash, died,” the service said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office reported that 25 out of 27 people onboard the An-26 plane were killed. Two cadets survived after jumping out of the plane, the Kharkov region’s Governor Alexei Kucher said. They were hospitalized in grave condition.

An An-26 military transport plane crashed in the Chuguyev district of northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkov region during a landing approach late on September 25. A total of 27 people were onboard the plane.

Apart from the crew, the plane had cadets of the Ivan Kozhedub National Air Force University on board, and was performing a training flight.

A criminal case was launched into violation of flights’ safety rules.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who arrived at the crash site, declared September 26 a national day of mourning for the victims of the crash.

Specialists have discovered a flight data recorder of the An-26 military transport plane that crashed in the Kharkov region, in northeastern Ukraine, on Friday, Defense Minister Andrei Taran said.

“The flight data recorder is not in the plane [that crashed] and conclusions can be made after analyzing information recorded there,” Taran was quoted by the Defense Ministry’s press service as saying.

According to preliminary data, the plane’s wing most likely hit the ground.

The SMS also revealed that the aircraft was 43-years-old. A government commission will be established to investigate the incident and President Volodymr Zelensky will visit the Kharkov region today.

Disturbing imagery circulating online suggests that most of the plane disintegrated upon impact and in the subsequent fire, The tail section of the aircraft, however, remains largely intact.

The governor of the Kharkov region Alexey Kucher initially said that, of the 27 people on board, seven were military officers and 21 were cadets with the Kharkov National Air Force University. However, emergency services later clarified that one of the cadets was not allowed to get on board.

Kucher said [initially] that there have been two confirmed survivors – both heavily burnt, with one in critical condition.

Local media have cited military sources who said the plane crashed due to engine malfunction. The pilot allegedly reported one of the engines breaking down shortly before the impact.

Source: TASS and RT