Contact lost with plane in Russia's Far East, 28 on board: reports

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 06 2021 02:01 PM

MOSCOW - Contact has been lost with a passenger plane carrying 28 people in Russia's Far East, news agencies cited emergency services as saying on Tuesday.

The An-26 was flying from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana in the Kamchatka Peninsula when it did not make a scheduled call-in, the Interfax, RIA Novosti and TASS agencies quoted local officials as saying.

The report said the 28 on board included six crew members and that there were one or two children among the passengers.

There were conflicting reports of what may have happened, with one source telling TASS the plane could have crashed into the sea and another telling Interfax it may have gone down near a coal mine close to the town of Palana.

A search had been launched involving at least two helicopters and rescue workers were on standby, the reports said.

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 airline 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 take-off, 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 with difficult weather conditions such as the Arctic and the Far East.

© Agence France-Presse


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