KIEV – A Ukrainian military plane carrying air force cadets and pilots has crashed in the northeast of the country, killing at least 22 people, officials confirmed. At least 2 people were injured and taken to hospital following the incident, which occurred on a training flight according to the nation’s President Volodymyr Zelenksy, The Independent reported.
A search is currently underway for 4 more people according to The Kyiv Post, which added that one trainee thought to have been caught up in the crash was discovered to have not boarded the Antonov An-26 carrier. Of the 27 people on board, 21 are reported to have been cadets.
The crash took place 2km from a military airport near the city of Kharkiv, the State of Emergency Service in Ukraine said in a statement.
“The bodies of 22 people were found, two people were injured and the search for four people continues,” the agency added.
It is currently unclear what led to the incident as the plane came into land, with footage from the scene showing the aircraft engulfed in flames by the side of a road.
Zelensky wrote on Facebook that the incident was “a terrible tragedy”, adding that he had “just no words”. He said that he would visit the region tomorrow, and was “urgently creating a government commission to investigate all circumstances and causes of the tragedy” which will be led by prime minister Denys Shmyhal.
Later, it was reported that one of two Ukrainian cadets, who survived after the An-26 military transport plane crashed on Friday in the Kharkov region, died in hospital, the Ukrainian Emergencies Situations Service said later during the day.
“As of 10:50 AM the person, who was in critical condition in hospital after the plane crash, died,” the service announced, TASS reported.
Later, the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office reported that 25 out of 27 people onboard the An-26 plane were killed. Two cadets survived after jumping out of the plane, according to the Kharkov region’s Governor Alexei Kucher. They were hospitalized in grave condition.