A Russian military transport airplane has crashed during landing at Khmeimim Airbase in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry has said. Six crew members as well as 26 passengers were killed in the crash, it added.
According to preliminary information, the incident could have been caused by a technical malfunction, the ministry said.
“Around 15:00 (Moscow time, 12:00 GMT), a Russian An-26 transport aircraft crashed while coming in for landing at the Khmeimim airbase,” the statement issued by the ministry said. “All those on board died [in the incident],” it added.
The airplane hit the ground some 500 meters from the runway. It did not come under fire before the incident, the Russian military said.
The Antonov An-26 is a twin-engine turboprop aircraft designed as a multipurpose tactical transport plane. It was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Some 450 such aircraft are still in service, with most of them used by the Russian military.
Russia has witnessed a number of air incidents in Syria. In the previous such case, a Mi-24 helicopter crashed due to a technical fault near the Syrian Hama military airfield on New Year’s Eve. Both pilots of the chopper were killed.