Seven dead as Russian cargo plane crash lands in Siberia

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A Belarussian-owned cargo plane crash-landed in Siberia and burst into flames, killing all seven people on board, after disappearing from radar just outside the city of Irkutsk, officials said.

Russia’s federal aviation agency Rosaviatsiya said the Antonov An-12 plane, owned by Belarussian company Grodno, circled around after first coming in to land, at which point communication was lost.

“The only thing we can see is that, unfortunately, everyone is dead,” said Igor Kobzev, the regional governor of Irkutsk.

Video footage from the scene showed rescuers battling to put out the flames, illuminated by torchlight in pitch black, snowy conditions. The local branch of the Russian Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case over violation of transport safety rules.

Belarussian authorities said the plane had been manned by an experienced crew of three Belarussians, two Russians and two Ukrainians, who had all died, and there had been no cargo on board.

Air accidents are not uncommon across the former Soviet Union, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions.

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