A big cargo plane transporting munitions from Serbia to Bangladesh has crashed and exploded in a ball of flames in northern Greece, killing all eight crew onboard.
Serbia’s defence minister, Nebojša Stefanović, stated the airplane was carrying 11.5 tonnes of army merchandise, together with illuminating mortar shells and coaching shells, and the customer was the Bangladesh defence ministry.
Greek authorities stated there have been eight crew members onboard. A Ukrainian overseas ministry spokesman stated they have been all Ukrainian residents.
Video and witness studies prompt the Antonov An-12 airplane caught hearth whereas nonetheless within the air. Witnesses stated they’d heard explosions because it flew over the realm on Saturday evening, Athens Information Company reported. Greek authorities stated the pilot had made an emergency name earlier than crashing.
An area man, Giorgos Archontopoulos, instructed state broadcaster ERT tv he had felt one thing was mistaken as quickly as he heard the plane’s engine. He stated: “I went outdoors and noticed the engine on hearth.”
Greek Civil Aviation authorities stated initially the flight was heading from Serbia to Jordan, though Amman later confirmed it was stopping there solely to refuel. The airplane, a Soviet-built turboprop plane, was operated by the cargo service Meridian.
Native officers stated seven hearth engines had been deployed to the crash website in a single day however that they may not method due to persevering with explosions. One of many mayor’s deputies instructed the native ERT broadcaster that blasts have been heard for 2 hours after the crash.
Two firefighters have been taken to hospital early on Sunday with respiratory points due to poisonous fumes.
As a precaution, due to a powerful scent emanating from the crash website, a coordinating committee made up of municipal, police and hearth service officers instructed inhabitants of two close by localities to maintain their home windows shut, not depart their houses and to put on masks.
A drone on Sunday approached the wreckage website, situated on farmland shut to 2 villages which are a part of the Paggaio municipality. ERT stated military and explosive in addition to Greek Atomic Power Fee specialists have been anticipated to make use of the drone earlier than approaching the location amid fears concerning the toxicity of the cargo.
Officers later sealed off the realm and despatched in army items with protecting gear to evaluate the harm.
Greek Civil Aviation stated the pilot had alerted authorities about an issue in one of many airplane’s engines and was given the selection of touchdown at both Thessaloniki or Kavala airports. He opted for Kavala, which was nearer, saying he needed to make an emergency touchdown.
Communication with the airplane ceased virtually instantly afterwards. The airplane crashed about 25 miles (40km) west of the airport.
“We have been listening to explosions till a couple of minutes in the past,” Filippos Anastassiadis, the mayor of the municipality of Paggaio, stated just a little over an hour after the accident. “I’m about 300 metres from the location of the crash.”
ERT reported that it was a Ukrainian plane, which in accordance with villagers was already in flames earlier than it crashed. The plane was nonetheless burning, in accordance with reside footage broadcast on state tv.
One firefighter instructed reporters on the scene: “It is advisable go away to your security. There’s data that the plane was carrying ammunition.”
Anastassiadis instructed Open TV: “The plane crashed round two kilometres away from an inhabited space.”
With Related Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse
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Initially posted by – www.theguardian.com