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28 feared dead after plane apparently crashes in Russia’s Far East region

Antonov An-26 plane
An Antonov An-26 plane at an airport outside Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, in November.
(Marina Lystseva / Associated Press)

A plane carrying 28 people apparently crashed as it came in for a landing in bad weather Tuesday in Russia’s Far East, and everyone aboard was feared dead.

Wreckage from the Antonov An-26 was found near the airport in the town of Palana, according to officials. The plane was on approach in fog and clouds when it missed a scheduled communication and disappeared from radar, officials from the Kamchatka region said.

Russia’s state aviation agency, Rosaviatsiya, said that parts of the plane were found about three miles from the airport’s runway. Part of the fuselage was found on the side of a mountain, Russia’s Pacific Fleet told news agencies, and another part was floating in the Okhotsk Sea.

The plane belonged to a company called Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise. The plane has been in operation since 1982, Russian state news agency Tass reported. The company’s director, Alexei Khabarov, told the Interfax news agency that the plane was technically sound before taking off in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

The July 4 weekend saw a spike in violence, with a dozen people killed in L.A. and several in surrounding communities.

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A criminal investigation into the incident has been launched. Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise’s deputy director, Sergei Gorb, said that the plane “practically crashed into a sea cliff,” which wasn’t supposed to be in its landing trajectory.

According to Russian media reports, none of the six crew members or 22 passengers on board survived. The head of the local government in Palana, Olga Mokhireva, was aboard the flight, spokespeople from the Kamchatka government said.

However, no bodies have been found yet, and there was no official confirmation of the reports.

A search-and-rescue mission was underway in the Palana area, but the work was hindered by the mountain terrain. The governor of Kamchatka, Vladimir Solodov, said that the area where the wreckage was found was difficult to access, especially as night fell.

“Most likely only tomorrow we will get official confirmation” of the fate of those aboard, Solodov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

In 2012, an Antonov An-28 plane belonging to Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise crashed into a mountain while flying from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and coming in for a landing in Palana. Ten of the 14 people on board were killed. Both pilots, who were among the dead, were found to have alcohol in their blood, Tass reported.


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