A Ukrainian cargo plane carrying 11 tons of weapons, including mortar shells and land mines, crashed in a fireball explosion in northern Greece.
The Antonov An-12 light aircraft, which was transporting the weapons from Serbia to Bangladesh, had eight Ukrainian crew members onboard.
All eight Ukrainian crew members were killed in the fiery crash.
Footage shows the plane falling out of the sky, with weapons onboard exploding for more than two hours.
“Soldiers in hazmat suits searched for signs of nuclear and chemical substances at the crash site,” according to the Daily Mail.
Eight crew members killed in Ukraine cargo plane crash in Greecehttps://t.co/XGz1mVpVAp
— ITV News (@itvnews) July 17, 2022
BREAKING: Ukrainian cargo plane crashes near Kavala in northeast Greece pic.twitter.com/0tRcBsSXSC
— BNO News (@BNONews) July 16, 2022
‼️ 🇬🇷 ✈️ 🇺🇦 Greek media publish footage from the crash site of the Ukrainian AN-12
The plane crashed near the town of Kavala in a field after the pilot reported engine problems. According to preliminary data, there were ammunition on board, which detonated after the disaster. pic.twitter.com/FPFOTmk9O1
— AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎 (@AZmilitary1) July 17, 2022
From the Daily Mail:
An official at Kyiv cargo operator Meridian told Reuters: ‘Of course they didn’t survive this.’
Eyewitnesses filmed the fireball crash in the early hours today, with explosions continuing for two hours and the charred wreckage burning until morning.
Drone images from the scene showed debris from the bulking aircraft strewn in fields.
Serbia’s defense minister said the plane was carrying 11.5 tonnes of products made by its defense industry and the buyer was Bangladesh defense ministry.
Greek authorities could not provide any more information on the aircraft’s cargo.
A special army unit arrived at the site to search for nuclear, biological and chemical substances at 1pm local time (10am GMT).
A lead firefighter told reporters that his crew ‘felt their lips burning’ at the site, with white dust floating in the air.
‘We don’t know what has been affecting us,’ fire brigade coordinator Marios Apostolidis said.
Serbian defence minister Nebojsa Stefanovic added that the plane’s cargo was owned by Serbian company Valir, a trade company registered to perform foreign trade activities of armament military equipment and other defense products.
We express our sincere condolences to the families of the 8 Ukrainian crew members who tragically lost their lives in the plane crash pic.twitter.com/oJRu35qKZL
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) July 17, 2022
“Witnesses said the aircraft had come down in a ball of flames near the city of Kavala before exploding on impact in corn fields around midnight local time. Earlier the pilot had reported engine trouble and had requested an emergency landing,” Reuters reported.
Greek state TV ERT said the aircraft’s signal was lost soon after the pilot requested an emergency landing. Amateur video footage uploaded on ertnews.gr showed the aircraft in flames descending fast before hitting the ground in what appeared to be an explosion.
“I wonder how it didn’t fall on our houses,” one witness, Aimilia Tsaptanova, told reporters. “It was full of smoke, it had a noise I can’t describe and went over the mountain. It passed the mountain and turned and crashed into the fields.”
Denys Bogdanovych, Meridian’s general director, said the crash had no relation to the war currently raging in Ukraine.