The wreckage of an aircraft that went missing on Tuesday morning has been found on the coastline of Russia’s Far Eastern Kamchatka peninsula.
The Antonov-26 plane was carrying twenty eight people, including six crew, when it crashed. None are believed to have survived.
Debris from the twin-engined turboprop aircraft was spotted on the side of a mountain 4 km (2.5 m) from the plane’s destination, Palana, in the north of the remote peninsula. Another part of the fuselage was found floating in the Okhotsk sea, rescuers said.
The plane was due to land just before 1pm local time, but lost contact with air traffic control in bad weather shortly before final approach.
Sergei Gorb, deputy director of Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise, said the plane “practically crashed into a sea cliff” not supposed to be in its landing trajectory. A severe side-wind may have contributed to the outcome, he suggested.
Russia’s aviation authority confirmed that conditions at the time of scheduled landing were difficult. Mountains around the airport had been enveloped in clouds, they reported, and there was fog from 300m upwards.
Other anonymous sources pinned the blame on the pilot, suggesting he had been disorientated by the bad weather.
Another source said:
One working theory is that the aircraft could have crashed because of pilot error or bad visibility.
The Antonov-26 is a twin-engined plane. Produced in the USSR between 1969 and 1986, it has been involved in a substantial number of fatal accidents, with 132 total loss accidents reported as of 2021.