The search and rescue team boarding an Emercom Mil Mi-8 helicopter for a flight to Palana, Kamchatka TerritoryImage: Russian Emergencies Ministry/TASS/dpa/picture alliance
Russia: Missing passenger plane located, no survivors
July 6, 2021
The passenger plane carrying more than two dozen people has been located at sea after going missing over Kamchatka. At least six crew and one or two children were on board.
There are no survivors aboard a passenger plane that crashed in Russia's Far East, local news agencies citing emergency services reported Tuesday. Twenty-eight people were on board the aircraft, which went missing over the Kamchatka peninsula.
The civil aviation authority confirmed the crash site had been located.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry launched a search for the missing aircraft involving at least two helicopters and ground crews were also involved while rescue workers were standing by. Russian state news agency RIA reports several ships are en route to the crash site.
What we know about the plane
The twin-engine turboprop Antonov An-26 was flying from the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Contact was lost when the plane failed to make a scheduled call-in nine kilometers (5.5 miles) from the airport in Palana, just 10 minutes prior to its scheduled landing.
Russian news agency Interfax reports the plane may have crashed into the side of a cliff in low visibility conditions.
The plane belonged to a company called Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise. The Emergencies Ministry said the mayor of the local government in Palana, Olga Mokhireva, was on board.
REN TV reports three other local administration officials were also on board.
Six crew members were on board as well as a child born in 2014.
The local meteorological center reported cloudy weather at the time of the crash. Russian state news agency Tass reports the plane had been in service since 1982.
Russian aviation plagued by lax standards and crashes
The type of plane involved in the Kamchatka crash, the An-26, was manufactured from 1969-1986 during the Soviet period and is still used throughout the former Soviet Union for civil and military transport.
In recent years, the An-26 has been involved in a number of accidents.
In March, four died when a Kazakh military An-26 crashed while landing at an Almaty airport. In September 2020, 26 died aboard a Ukrainian military An-26 that crashed during a training flight near the northeast city of Kharkiv.
The Russian military has also experience fatal crashes involving the An-26 plane. In March of 2018, 39 were killed when the plane crash landed in Syria and in 2017, one soldier was killed during a training flight crash near Saratov.
In 2012, a similar plane, the Antonov-28, crashed in the forest in Kamchatka, killing 10. A subsequent investigation revealed both pilots were drunk at the time.
While Russian aviation has improved its safety record in recent years, poor aircraft maintenance and limited safety standards coupled with difficult weather in Russia's isolated regions like the Arctic or the Far East make flying in the country challenging still.
Non-fatal aviation incidents are frequent in Russia. They usually result in re-routed flights and emergency landings, often due to technical problems.