Military aircraft crashes in Ukraine, killing 26

President promises prompt investigation after crash in which one person survived

Rescuers inspect the crash site of the An-26 plane near Chuhuiv, Ukraine. Photograph: EPA

Rescuers inspect the crash site of the An-26 plane near Chuhuiv, Ukraine. Photograph: EPA

 

The causes of a military plane crash which killed 26 people would be investigated promptly and impartially, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said.

One person survived after the plane, a twin-turboprop Antonov-26 belonging to the Ukrainian air force which was carrying 20 military cadets and a crew of seven, crashed on Friday night.

The aircraft was coming in to land at the airport in Chuhuiv, about 400km east of the capital Kyiv, when the incident occurred.

Two people initially survived the crash, but one later died in a hospital.

“Yesterday, as a result of a terrible tragedy... Ukraine lost 26 of its worthy sons,” Mr Zelenskiy said on Facebook. “I insist that the causes of this plane crash be promptly clarified and that the investigation be objective and impartial.”

He declared Saturday a day of mourning.

The Antonov An-26 aircraft crashed while trying to land during a training exercise, Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said, adding that the black boxes with flight data had been found.

Ukrainian authorities said they were investigating four possible causes of the crash – a technical malfunction involving the aircraft; improper performance by the crew; improper performance by flight control; and inadequate maintenance.

A Ukrainian law enforcement agency said the plane crashed five minutes after the crew commander asked to land after the left engine failed.

“According to the preliminary information, the cadets did not directly control the aircraft – all flights were performed by the crew commander,” the State Security Service said in a statement on Saturday.

The government said training flights on similar types of aircraft had been suspended. – Agencies