Ten dead in plane crash in Russian Far East

MOSCOW: Ten people died and four were injured Wednesday when a small plane crashed in Russia's Far East in the country's latest aviation disaster, the emergency ministry said.

The An-28 passenger plane made a hard emergency landing in the far-flung Kamchatka region after noon local time (midnight GMT), a spokeswoman with the Far Eastern branch of the emergency ministry said.

The twin-engine aircraft had 14 people on board including two crew, the spokeswoman told AFP by telephone from the city of Khabarovsk.

"Ten people have died and four were injured," she said, adding that the survivors were being taken for treatment to the town of Palana.

Three men and one woman survived the crash, while the dead included both crew and one child, officials said.

The plane took off from Kamchatka's main airport Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky for a scheduled flight to Palana on the Okhotsk sea coast, but communications went dead at 12:28 pm (0028 GMT), the ministry said.

A rescue helicopter located the crash site and the survivors on a hill covered in cedar trees 10 kilometres (six miles) from Palana, a ministry statement said. The plane sustained "considerable damage," it said.

Rescue workers had to clear away small trees to create a spot for the helicopter to land to take the injured to hospital.

The swampy area is hard to reach and the rescue team could only land nearly a kilometre away, said Kamchatka deputy governor Alexander Potiyevsky, according to the regional administration website.

He said the four survivors were three men and a woman.

The regional government announced a day of mourning Thursday and promised compensation of 200,000 rubles ($6,300) to each victim's family.

The cause of the crash had not yet been announced. The local weather forecast indicated overcast skies and rain.

Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened a probe into possible violation of air transport regulations.

According to the schedule of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport, the daily flight to Palana is operated by state-owned local carrier FGUPKAP.

Kamchatka is a long peninsula in the Russian Far East that lies north of Japan and is accessible practically only by air.

Russia has a dismal aviation safety record, with older small planes that serve hard-to-reach Siberian and Far Eastern regions regularly making emergency landings.





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