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43-year-old Antonov military transport plane crashes in north-eastern Ukraine; killing 26, mostly young cadets (VIDEO)

43-year-old Antonov military transport plane crashes in north-eastern Ukraine; killing 26, mostly young cadets (VIDEO)
Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that the crash of an Antonov-26 plane, on Friday night, killed 26. Dramatic footage from the scene has surfaced online, showing the aircraft in flames as it lies by the side of the road.

The turboprop crashed as it was about to land at an airfield outside the town of Chuguev, close to Kharkov. According to information from the State Emergencies Service (SMS), in Kiev, 26 of the 27 people on board were killed, with one injured. The dead were mostly young cadets.

Two initial survivors managed to jump out of the doomed Antonov, before impact. However, one of them succumbed to their injuries on Saturday. "As of 10.50am, the person, who was in critical condition in hospital after the plane crash, died," the SMS said.

Authorities confirmed that the black box had been recovered. Defense Minister Andrei Taran revealed that "the flight data recorder has been removed and conclusions can be made after analyzing information recorded there." 

The SMS also revealed that the aircraft was 43-years-old. A government commission will be established to investigate the incident and President Volodymr Zelensky will visit the Kharkov region today.

Disturbing imagery circulating online suggests that most of the plane disintegrated upon impact and in the subsequent fire, The tail section of the aircraft, however, remains largely intact.

The governor of the Kharkov region Alexey Kucher initially said that, of the 27 people on board, seven were military officers and 21 were cadets with the Kharkov National Air Force University. However, emergency services later clarified that one of the cadets was not allowed to get on board.

Kucher said that there have been two confirmed survivors – both heavily burnt, with one in critical condition. 

Local media have cited military sources who said the plane crashed due to engine malfunction. The pilot allegedly reported one of the engines breaking down shortly before the impact.

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