Airplane with 28 on board crashes into sea in eastern Russia
An Antonov An-24, similar to the one that disappeared near the Kamchatka Peninsula, prepares for takeoff at the Chara Airport in Transbaikalia, Russia. (Getty Images)

Airplane with 28 on board crashes into sea in eastern Russia

A Russian airplane with 28 people on board crashed into the sea on Tuesday off Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula as it was preparing to land, RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.

The plane, an Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop, was en route from the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana, a village in northern Kamchatka, when it lost contact with air traffic control, Russia’s emergencies ministry said.

Several ships were en route to the crash site, RIA cited emergency services as saying.

There were 22 passengers and six crew on board, the ministry said. Village Mayor Olga Mokhireva was among the passengers, Tass news agency quoted local authorities as saying.

The weather in the area was cloudy at the time, Interfax news agency said, quoting the local meteorology center. According to Tass, the plane was built in 1982.

Russia, once notorious for plane accidents, has improved its air traffic safety record in recent years. But poor aircraft maintenance and lax safety standards still persist, and the country has seen several deadly air accidents in recent years.

The last major air accident took place in May 2019, when a Sukhoi Superjet belonging to the flag carrier Aeroflot crash-landed and caught fire on the runway of a Moscow airport, killing 41 people.

In February 2018, a Saratov Airlines An-148 aircraft crashed near Moscow shortly after takeoff, killing all 71 people on board. An investigation later concluded that the accident was caused by human error.

Flying in Russia can also be dangerous in the vast country’s isolated regions – such as the Arctic and the far east – where difficult weather conditions are commonly encountered.

This article originally appeared in DAILY SABAH on 06 July 2021.