Russian plane crashes, all 28 on board feared dead


Wreckage found in Kamchatka Peninsula after plane went down while preparing to land in poor visibility.

All 28 people on board a decades-old passenger plane that crashed in Russia’s far east, including at least one child, are feared dead, according to local officials and media.

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The plane was en route from regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana, a town in northwestern Kamchatka, when it lost contact with air traffic control shortly before 3pm local time (03:00 GMT) on Tuesday, Russia’s emergencies ministry said.

There were 22 passengers and six crew on board the Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop, which has been in operation since 1982.

Most were residents of Palana, a town which is home to about 2,900 people and near the Sea of Okhotsk.

Local officials said the plane’s debris had been found both in the sea and on land.

The cause of the crash is now “being investigated”, the Kamchatka transportation prosecutor’s office told Al Jazeera.

There were initial reports that poor visibility may have been a contributing factor.

An-26 plans have for decades been the most reliable mode of transportation in the remote and sparsely populated region, where “bears outnumber people”, according to a local saying.

Some 320,000 people live on the New Zealand-sized peninsula and an adjacent archipelago. After the Soviet collapse, the region faced a dramatic depopulation despite hefty natural resources, including oil and gas.

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