Ukrainian Cargo Plane Conveying Weapons Crashes In Greece

Ukrainian Cargo Plane Conveying Weapons Crashes In Greece
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All eight crew members of a Ukrainian-operated cargo plane carrying military goods were killed on Sunday when crashed in Greece en route from Serbia to Bangladesh, the Serbian defence minister has confirmed.

Witnesses who saw the crash said that they saw the privately operated Antonov plane on fire and heard explosions.

Videos shared on social media which were sighted by Africa Daily News, New York showed the aircraft as it was engulfed by a giant fireball as it hit the ground late on Saturday in Paleochori village near the Greek city of Kavala.

‘Sadly, according to the information we have received, the eight members of the crew died in the crash,’ Serbian Defence Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic told a news conference on Sunday.

The Antonov An-12 took off from Nis airport in southern Serbia at around 8:40pm (18:40 GMT) on Saturday, carrying ‘around 11 tonnes of military industry goods’ namely mines from Valir, a private Serbian company, to the Bangladeshi defence ministry, Stefanovic said.

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Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the eight crew were Ukrainian citizens. ‘The preliminary cause of the accident is the failure of one of the engines,’ said spokesman Oleg Nikolenko on Facebook.

Denys Bogdanovych, general director of Meridian, the Ukrainian airline operating the plane, also told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the crew were all Ukrainian.

Video footage from a local channel showed signs of impact on a field and the aircraft in pieces scattered in a large area.

According to state-run TV, the army, explosives experts and Greek Atomic Energy Commission staff will approach the area after it is deemed safe, as fears of the toxicity of the cargo forced them to stay away.

Fire brigade official Marios Apostolidis told reporters: “Men from the fire service with special equipment and measuring instruments approached the point of impact of the aircraft and had a close look at the fuselage and other parts scattered in the fields.”

When the area is deemed secure, the search teams are going to operate, he added.

Africa Daily News, New York

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