Russian rescue teams are searching the area, located in the far east of the country
A Soviet-built Antonov-26 passenger plane with 28 people on board (six crew members and 22 passengers), including several children, crashed this morning in the Okhotsk Sea, off the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka (Far East). Rescue teams of the Russian Navy are searching the sea.
The location of the device has been determined thanks to the signal emitted by the emergency radio beacon, despite the fact that, according to the Interfax agency, its intensity is very low.
Contact with the An-26 crew was lost this morning when he was about to land at the airfield in the town of Palana (Kamchatka), the final destination of the flight. He had taken off from the Petropavlosk Kamchastki airport, the capital of Kamchatka. Several ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet and an Iliushin-38 aircraft participate in the rescue efforts. A helicopter and medics are also ready to join the operation.
Interfax cites sources who claim that the weather conditions at the Palana aerodrome were “difficult.” “During the approach for landing, the meteorological conditions were characterized by the presence of fog around the airport, broken clouds with a lower edge of 300 meters and continuous clouds at an altitude of 720 meters. The mountains located in the area were covered by cloud cover, ”reports the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia).
Creation of a crisis cell
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the creation of a crisis cell led by Transport Minister Vitali Savéliev, and made up of the local authorities of the peninsula. Among the passengers are Palana residents and officials from its local administration, including the head of one of the departments, Alexánder Andreikin, and his wife Olga Andreíkina, who ran the accounting section, Interfax reports. Apparently, the mayor of Palana, Olga Mojireva, was also flying in the crashed plane.
The An-26 had been chartered by a Kamchatka company and had been in operation since 1982. The certificate of having passed the last revision expired next August. Russia has improved the safety of its flights in recent years, although aircraft maintenance problems remain, especially at regional carriers, and safety regulations are not always observed.
The last major accident occurred in May 2019, at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. A Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft of the Aeroflot airline with 78 passengers on board caught fire upon landing because one of the turbines was struck by lightning. 41 people perished.