According to preliminary reports, the aircraft didn’t respond in time to a planned communication session.
A Russian An-26 plane en route from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana has gone missing in Kamchatka, prompting an emergency alert.
“There are six crew members and 22 passengers (including one child) onboard the An-26 aircraft. A helicopter and troops from the Russian Emergencies Ministry are preparing for a search and rescue operation”, a representative of the emergency services said.
Meteorologists noted there was a low cloud cover in the area, but visibility was within normal range.
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“All the emergency services were alerted and sent to examine the plane’s route. Two helicopters and a special aircraft are investigating the area. Rescue troops are ready to move from Palana to the aircraft’s detection point”, the regional government said in an official statement.
Addressing the incident, Russian Pacific Fleet spokesman Nikolai Voskresensky confirmed that the military is also engaged in the search operation.
“Units of the troops and forces in the northeast of Russia have joined the search for the An-26 civilian aircraft that disappeared in Kamchatka. At 9:45 (Moscow time) [6:45 GMT], an Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft of the Pacific Fleet’s aviation flew from the Elizovo Airfield to the area of the alleged crash of the aircraft”, Voskresensky said.
Per preliminary data from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, there are 22 passengers on board the aircraft, including one child, and 6 crew members. At the same time, the government of the Kamchatka Territory said there were 6 crew members and 21 passengers on board, including two children under 12 years old.
Later, regional authorities told Sputnik that the head of the Palana settlement, Olga Makhireva, was aboard the An-26 plane that went missing. The authorities also provided a list with the names of the 22 passengers that were aboard the aircraft.
In the meantime, a criminal case has been initiated over violation of safety rules after the disappearance of the plane.