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All eight crew members killed in cargo plane crash in Greece

#crew #members #killed #cargo #plane #crash #Greece

All eight crew members of a cargo plane that crashed near the Greek city of Kavala died in the accident, Serbia’s defense minister said on Sunday.

The Ukraine-operated Antonov An-12 was transporting mines and around 11 tons of weapons to Bangladesh when it crashed on Saturday night, Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said.

Videos shared by eyewitnesses on social media showed the plane being engulfed in a giant fireball as it hit the ground.

“I think the crew was Ukrainian, but I have no information about that. They weren’t Serbs,” Stefanovic said at a press conference.

The plane took off from Nis Airport in Serbia around 20:40 (1840 GMT) on Saturday and was carrying weapons belonging to private Serbian company Valir, he said.

Greek media said they applied for permission to make an emergency landing at Kavala Airport but failed to reach him.

Greek emergency services deployed a drone to monitor the plane’s wreckage on Sunday as they kept their distance for fear of the cargo’s toxicity.

State television said the army, explosives experts and staff from the Hellenic Atomic Energy Commission would approach the crash site once it was deemed safe.

“Firefighters with special equipment and measuring instruments approached the point of impact of the plane and closely examined the fuselage and other parts scattered in the fields,” fire official Marios Apostolidis told reporters.

Search teams would go in when the area is deemed safe, he added.

A special fire department team of 13, 26 firefighters and seven fire engines were dispatched to the area but have not yet been able to approach the crash site, local officials said.

Video footage from a local station showed signs of impact in a field and the plane in pieces scattered over a wide area.

Eyewitnesses said they saw the plane on fire and heard explosions.

– Toxic fumes –

Filippos Anastasiadis, mayor of the nearby town of Paggaio, told Open TV the plane crashed “about two kilometers from a populated area.”

People living within a two-kilometer radius of the crash site were asked to remain in their homes and wear face masks on Saturday night.

Two firefighters were taken to hospital early Sunday morning with breathing difficulties from toxic fumes.

A local, Giorgos Archontopoulos, told state television station ERT that he felt something was wrong as soon as he heard the plane’s engine.

“At 22:45 (1945 GMT) I was surprised by the sound of the plane’s engine,” he said. “I went outside and saw the burning engine.”

Ukrainian Consul in Thessaloniki Vadim Sabluk visited the area on Sunday.

The Athens News Agency said he gave authorities the identities of the eight crew members and said the plane had flown to Bangladesh.

Serbia’s defense minister said the arms delivery had been agreed with the Bangladeshi Defense Ministry “in accordance with international rules”.

“Unfortunately, some media have speculated that the plane was carrying weapons destined for Ukraine, but this is completely wrong,” he said.

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#crew #members #killed #cargo #plane #crash #Greece

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