The authorities are analyzing whether there was a failure in the engine.
Twenty-six people, mostly students from a military school, were killed when a military transport plane that was carrying out a training flight in eastern Ukraine crashed, official sources reported today, indicating that the accident could be linked to a failure in the motor.
“Ukraine has lost 26 of its children,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Facebook, who traveled to the scene and declared a day of national mourning for this Saturday. In the previous balance, there were 23 dead and two missings, but the authorities raised the death toll to 26 in the last hours.
The plane was carrying 27 people, seven crew members and 20 students of the National Aviation University of Kharkiv in the east of the country.
Two students had survived the catastrophe, but one of them, who was in “extremely serious” condition, died this Saturday morning, according to the Ukrainian Minister of Health.
The other wounded man suffered a concussion, but his life is not in danger, reported the military clinic where he is treated.
The plane, an Antonov An-26, crashed on Friday night on a training flight two kilometers from the Chuguev military airport, near Kharkiv.
According to preliminary reports with The Eastern Herald, the commander of the crew who piloted the plane reported that one of the engines had failed seven minutes before the accident and requested an emergency landing, said the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), adding that the students they were not involved in the piloting.
Defense Minister Andriy Taran said in a statement that “the plane most likely touched the ground with its wing” to explain what happened.
The plane was built in 1977, but it could still fly for three years without renovations, Taran said.
Foreign leaders, including Polish President Andrzej Duda, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and European Union (EU) diplomacy chief Josep Borrell, sent messages of condolences for the tragedy.
The Antonov An-26 is a light transport aircraft designed in Ukraine in Soviet times, it has a length of 24 meters and can fly at a cruising speed of 440 km/h.