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Crew members killed in Ukraine cargo plane crash in northern Greece

Crew members killed in Ukraine cargo plane crash in northern Greece
July 17, 2022 Reuters

ATHENS (Reuters) - A Ukrainian cargo plane carrying munitions from Serbia to Bangladesh crashed near the city of Kavala in northern Greece, killing the crew members on board, Serbian authorities and Meridian airline said on Sunday.

Drone images from the scene showed smouldering debris from the Antonov An-12 aircraft strewn in fields. Greek authorities said there were eight crew members on board and a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman said they were all Ukrainian citizens.

Ukrainian-based airline Meridian, which operated the aircraft, said all the crew members were killed in the crash. 

Serbia's defence minister said the plane was carrying 11.5 tonnes of products, including mortar and training shells, made by its defence industry. The buyer of the cargo was the defence ministry of Bangladesh, he said.

Denys Bogdanovych, Meridian's general director, confirmed Serbia's account of events. "This is not related to Ukraine or Russia," Bogdanovych told Reuters by telephone.

Witnesses said the aircraft came down in a ball of flames before exploding on impact in corn fields around midnight local time. Earlier the pilot had reported engine trouble and had requested an emergency landing.

Greek authorities could not provide information on the aircraft's cargo or the crew. The special disaster response unit and army experts were dispatched to the scene, while local authorities issued a ban on people moving in the area.