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Russian Plane Crash: 39 Die in Incident at Syria Base

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A Russian military aircraft crashed near an air base in western Syria on Tuesday, killing all 39 crew and passengers on board, the Russian defense ministry said.

Russian plane

According to Moscow's Interfax news agency citing the defense ministry, an Antonov An-26 aircraft crashed around 15:00 while attempting to land at the Hhmeimim military air base near the coastal city of Latakia.

The ministry said the 33 passengers and six crew members were all military personnel, in a statement carried by news agencies, revising up an earlier toll of 32.

A preliminary report suggests a technical malfunction was the cause.

"The reason for the crash according to preliminary information could have been a technical fault," the ministry said, adding that the plane had not come under fire according to a report from the ground.

The Hmeimim facility is a Syrian government base currently used by Russia to support its military intervention in the country at the request of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The transporter was around 500 meters from the runway, the statement said.
A commission will investigate the causes of the crash.

Commenting on the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed "deep condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the crash and also to all of the military over the loss of their comrades". 

Putin, who is on a trip in the Urals region, spoke to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on the phone about the accident, according to the Kremlin.

A commission will investigate the causes of the crash, the defense ministry said.

The Investigative Committee, which covers major incidents, also announced a probe into possible safety breaches, saying the plane was carrying out a planned flight.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team