“Ukraine has lost 26 of its sons,” President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Facebook on Saturday, declaring a day of national mourning on Saturday.
A previous toll announced 22 dead and two missing.
There were 27 people on board – seven crew members and 20 students at the Ukrainian National Aviation University in Kharkov (east).
Two students survived the catastrophe, but one of them, who was in an “extremely serious condition”, died on Saturday morning, the Ministry of Health announced.
The second injured person suffered a concussion, but his life is not in danger, announced the clinic that takes care of him.
The plane, an Antonov-26, crashed on Friday night during a training flight, two kilometers from the Ciuguiv military airport, near Kharkov.
According to preliminary information, the commander of the crew piloting the aircraft signaled a breakdown in one of the engines seven minutes before the crash and asked to land urgently, the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) said in a statement.
The students were not involved in piloting the plane, SBU points out.
Defense Minister Andrii Taran announced that “the plane touched the ground with its wing,” according to a ministry statement.
The aircraft was built in 1977, but could continue to fly for three years, following renovations, the minister assured.
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 26, 2020
The city of Ciuguiv, with 30,000 inhabitants, is located about 30 kilometers southeast of Kharkov and 100 kilometers west of the front line, which separates the territories under the control of the Ukrainian Government from those under the control of pro-Russian separatists.
The An-26 light transport aircraft was designed in Soviet-era Ukraine. The aircraft is 26 meters long and can fly at a cruising speed of 440 kilometers per hour.
Several military planes have crashed in Ukraine during training flights in recent years.