26 Dead, One Survivor in Fiery Crash of Military Plane

Just one survivor after accident Friday night in Chuhuiv, Ukraine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2020 8:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 26, 2020 8:15 AM CDT
26 Dead, One Survivor in Fiery Crash of Military Plane
In this photo, relatives of crash victims mourn at the scene Saturday where an AN-26 military plane crashed in the town of Chuhuiv, near Kharkiv, Ukraine.   (Emergency Situation Ministry via AP)

Searchers combing the area where a Ukrainian military aircraft crashed found two more bodies Saturday, bringing the death toll to 26. The plane, a twin-turboprop Antonov AN-26 belonging to the Ukrainian air force, was carrying a crew of seven and 20 cadets from a military aviation school when it crashed and burst into flames Friday night while coming in for a landing at the airport in Chuhuiv, about 250 miles east of the capital Kyiv, per the AP. Two people initially survived the crash, but one later died in a hospital. No cause for the crash has been determined. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared Saturday to be a day of mourning for the crash victims and ordered that flights of AN-26 planes be halted pending an investigation into the cause of the crash. Zelensky also called for a full assessment of the condition of the country's military equipment.

The AN-26 is a transport plane used by both military and civilian operators. Nearly 1,400 of the planes were manufactured from 1969 to 1986, according to the company's website. Defense Minister Andrei Taran said the plane that crashed was built in 1977. Prime Minister Denis Shygal called for an official report on the crash by Oct. 25. "Yesterday we lost young cadets and experienced military men, who had their whole lives and, I am sure, more than one military feat ahead of them," Zelensky said in a statement released by his office. "The whole country will mourn today with their families." Deputy Defense Minister Igor Starobinsky said the families of the dead would each be paid a compensation of about $55,000.

(More Ukraine stories.)

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