Russian military transport plane crashes in Syria, killing all 39 people on board
Update: Russia's Defense Ministry has clarified that 33 passengers were actually on the crashed plane, raising the total death toll to 39 people.
While trying to land at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in Syria, an Antonov An-26 Russian transport plane crashed on Tuesday, killing all 33 passengers and six crew members aboard, the Defense Ministry confirmed. The aircraft crashed about 1,600 feet short of the runway. Moscow says the plane wasn’t shot down, blaming the tragedy on a technical malfunction. A special commission has already formed to investigate the incident.
Russian officials have not yet revealed the names of the crash victims.
The An-26 crash is the bloodiest aviation accident in Russia’s Syrian military intervention, after the crash of a Tu-154 plane in December 2016 outside Sochi, which was carrying 92 people (including the Red Army Choir) to Syria.