MOSCOW (AP) — A plane carrying 28 people apparently crashed as it came in for a landing in bad weather Tuesday in Russia’s Far East, and everyone aboard was feared dead.
Wreckage from the Antonov An-26 was found near the airport in the town of Palana, according to officials. The plane was on approach in fog and clouds when it missed a scheduled communication and disappeared from radar, officials from the Kamchatka region said.
Russia’s state aviation agency, Rosaviatsiya, said that parts of the plane were found about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the airport’s runway. Part of the fuselage was found on the side of a mountain, Russia’s Pacific Fleet told news agencies, and another part was floating in the Okhotsk Sea.
Sergei Gorb, deputy director of Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise, said that the plane “practically crashed into a sea cliff,” which wasn’t supposed to be in its landing trajectory.
The aircraft was in operation since 1982, Russian state news agency Tass reported. The director of Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise, Alexei Khabarov, told the Interfax news agency that the plane was technically sound before taking off from the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
According to Russian media reports, none of the six crew members or 22 passengers on board survived. The head of the local government in Palana, Olga Mokhireva, was among those on board, spokespeople of the Kamchatka government said.
However, no bodies were found yet and there was no official confirmation of the reports.
A criminal investigation was opened, as is typical.
A search and rescue mission was underway in the Palana area, but the work was hindered in a complex mountain terrain. The governor of Kamchatka, Vladimir Solodov, said that the area where the wreckage was found was difficult to access, especially as night fell.
“Most likely, only tomorrow we will get official confirmation” of the fate of those aboard, Solodov was quoted by Interfax as saying.
In 2012, an Antonov An-28 plane belonging to Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise crashed into a mountain while flying the same route as Tuesday’s flight. A total of 14 people were on board and 10 of them were killed. Both pilots, who were among the dead, were found to have alcohol in their blood, Tass reported.