An airplane carrying 23 passengers and six crew members disappeared on Tuesday from radars on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East.
The aircraft (a Soviet-designed Antonov An-26) was flying from the region’s capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, towards the small town of Palana when stopped broadcasting, said Valentina Glazova, spokesperson for the regional tax office in charge of transportation, in dialogue with AFP.
“Search and rescue efforts are underway,” Glazova said, adding: “All we know for now is that contact with the plane has been lost and that has not landed“.
The plane was operated by Kamchatsky Air Enterprise, a small local company from Kamchatka, a vast peninsula at the eastern tip of Russia with very little population.
There are some hypothesis on the whereabouts of the plane. A source explained to the state news agency TASS that there may have been crashed into the sea, while another warned the Interfax agency that a coal mine near Palana probably fell nearby.
I know they mobilized two helicopters to search the aircraft and rescue teams are ready to intervene.
Russia, which was known for its aviation accidents, has improved air traffic safety since 2000, when the country’s main companies abandoned their old Soviet aircraft for more modern ones.
However, there are still lack of maintenance and lax standards security, which is why the country has recorded several fatal plane crashes in recent years.
The last occurred in May 2019, when a Sukhoi Superjet of the Russian airline Aeroflot crashed on landing and caught fire on the runway of a Moscow airport, leaving 41 fatalities.
Further back, in February 2018, a Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148 crashed shortly after takeoff near Moscow, killing all 71 people on board. An investigation determined that the cause of the accident was human error.
With information from AFP.