A Ukrainian plane carrying weapons from Serbia to Bangladesh crashes in Greece | International
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A cargo plane carrying weapons from Serbia to Bangladesh crashed late on Saturday near the city of Kavala in northeastern Greece, Serbian authorities announced on Sunday. All eight crew members of the aircraft have died, confirmed Meridian, the Ukraine-based airline that operated the flight. They were all Ukrainian nationals. The wrecked plane is an Antonov An-12 that was scheduled to make a stopover in Amman (Jordan) to refuel. The Serbian Ministry of Defense has reported that the aircraft was carrying 11.5 tons of military equipment manufactured in the Balkan country that had been bought by Bangladesh. The causes of the accident are still unknown.
A few minutes before the accident, which took place shortly before midnight in Greece (11:00 p.m. in mainland Spain), the pilot of the plane requested an emergency landing at the Thessaloniki or Kavala airports. The Greek authorities opted for the latter due to the proximity, but the aircraft crashed shortly after about 40 kilometers from the airfield. The mayor of the town of Pangeo, Filippos Anastasiadis, has stated that the plane was engulfed in flames when it collided, but has ruled out that there were nuclear or chemical materials on board. Around 01:00 local time, the authorities of Pangeo (32,000 inhabitants) ordered the neighbors to move away from the scene of the incident due to the “dangerous and toxic vapors” emitted by the aircraft. Civil Protection sources have urged the population of the area on Sunday morning to keep the windows of the houses closed and not turn on the air conditioning.
The Serbian Defense Minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, has specified that the plane was carrying different types of mortars and ammunition for training. “The buyer was the Ministry of Defense of Bangladesh”, he confirmed this Sunday morning at a press conference. Stefanovic has also pointed out that the aircraft took off from the airport in Nis, the third most populous city in Serbia.
Greek television ERT reported late Saturday that air traffic controllers had lost signal from the Antonov An-12 a few minutes after the pilot requested an emergency landing due to an engine problem. A video posted on the ERT website shows the plane in flames as it descends at high speed before hitting the ground. “Of course none of the crew have survived this tragedy,” a Meridian spokesman told Reuters.
The Greek news agency ANA-MPA has indicated that numerous rescue personnel, firefighters, ambulances from the National Emergency Center, police and tanker trucks are at the scene, and that the area is in darkness due to a power outage. . One of the firefighters told Reuters this Sunday that he felt that “his lips were burning.”
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