Twenty-six people, mostly students of a military school, they died in the crash of a military transport plane that crashed this Friday on a training flight in eastern Ukraine for a possible engine failure.
“Ukraine has lost 26 of its children,” President Volodymyr Zelensky, who traveled to the scene and declared a day of national mourning on Saturday, said on Facebook. In the previous balance there were 23 dead and two missing.
In total, the plane was carrying 27 people, seven crew members and 20 students from the Kharkov National Aviation University (East). Two students survived the catastrophe, but one of them, in “extremely serious” condition, died on Saturday morning, according to the Health Minister.
The second wounded man suffers a concussion, but his life is not in danger, as reported from 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 Kharkov.
According to preliminary reports, the commander of the crew piloting the plane reported that one of the engines had failed seven minutes before the accident and requested an emergency landing, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said. The students were not involved in the piloting, the SBU added.
Defense Minister Andrii Taran stated that “the plane most likely touched the ground with its wing,” according to a statement from his ministry. The plane was built in 1977 but could still fly for three years without renovations, Taran said.
Foreign leaders, including Polish President Andrzej Duda, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the head of European Union diplomacy Josep Borrell, sent messages of condolences that arrived since Friday.
The Antonov An-26 is a light transport aircraft designed in Ukraine in Soviet times. With a length of 24 meters, it can fly at a cruising speed of 440 km / h.
Several military aircraft have crashed in Ukraine on training flights in recent years.