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Wreckage of Russian plane carrying 28 found in Far-Eastern region

A plane carrying 28 people apparently crashed as it came in for a landing during bad weather in Russia’s Far East and everyone aboard was feared dead.

Russian officials say they have found the wreckage of an airliner that went missing in the far east of the country on Tuesday.

The plane, a Soviet-designed Antonov AN-26, was carrying 22 passengers and six crew members when it disappeared from radar on the peninsula of Kamchatka.

Authorities say they have found debris from the plane about five kilometres away from the runway where it was due to land.

According to Russian media, there were no survivors of the crash. The head of the local government in Palana, Olga Mokhireva, was aboard the flight, the Kamchatka government has said.

“Rescuers have found debris from the aircraft, their work made difficult by the geography of the terrain,” Russia’s air transport agency Rosaviatsia said in a statement sent to AFP.

It said the debris was found at 21:06 local time, near the coast of the Okhotsk Sea. Around thirty rescuers were trying to reach the crash site with all-terrain vehicles, the agency said.

“One part of the fuselage was found on the shore, the other in the water,” Kamtachtka Governor Vladimir Solodov said in a video posted on the region’s website.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the incident.

A spokeswoman for the regional transport prosecutor’s office told AFP that the airliner was flying from the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski to the small coastal town of Palana when it stopped transmitting.

Russia has long suffered from a poor reputation for aviation safety, with instances of poor technical maintenance and lax safety regulations.

The last serious accident was in May 2019 when a Sukhoi Superjet belonging to the national airline Aeroflot was forced to land and caught fire on the runway of a Moscow airport, killing 41 people.

In February 2018, a Saratov Airlines AN-148 crashed shortly after takeoff near Moscow, killing all 71 people on board. An investigation determined that human error was the cause of the accident.

Air transport is also subject to often difficult flying conditions in remote areas of the Arctic and the Far East.

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