A plane has crashed in the east of Russia, potentially killing everyone on board. Out of 22 passengers and 6 crew members, there are believed to be no survivors from the plane crash near the Kamchatka Peninsula. After losing connection on the journey from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to the village of Palana, local emergency and transport officials reported the disappearance of the Russian aircraft. Russia’s aviation agency later reported that the wreckage had been found 4 to 5 kilometres from the Palana airport runway.
Local officials believe the plane crashed because of poor visibility. Interfax and the Russian state media, TASS, agreed with this, pointing out that the plane was travelling through cloudy weather. The debris of the plane was located at both land and sea and a search party was sent out around the Palana airport and the Okhotsk Sea. “The area has been roughly determined within 15-25 kilometres from the airport, along the coastline,” said an emergency ministry source. A further government statement said that “The aircraft’s malfunctioning equipment or a piloting error are currently investigated as possible causes”.
From the evidence of the crash site, a seashore rock named Pyatibratka (Of Five Brothers) is also a potential cause of the crash. It is a notoriously dangerous area for landing planes, with an Antonov An-28 plane colliding with the rock in 2012, resulting in 10 casualties.
The plane, a Russian-built Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop, belonged to Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise and has been in service since 1982. The director of the company, Alexei Khabarov, addressed the incident and claimed the plane was technically sound. It “has a valid certificate of airworthiness. The crew has passed [the] pre-flight examination.”
The investigation is still ongoing and an aviation security analyst, Vitali Shelkovnikov, regarded the incident as inconclusive. “It’s too early to say what happened,” he said as the investigation was halted due to nightfall. The Kamchatka’s governor asserted the death toll would be confirmed on Wednesday.