An Antonov An-12 cargo plane owned by the Ukrainian company Meridian crashed late on July 16 near Kavala, Greece. The crash killed all eight Ukrainian crew members on board.
Meridian’s CEO, Denys Bohdanovych, confirmed the crash to Deutsche Welle. According to reports, the plane was flying from Serbia to Jordan.
The crew members’ names have not been released. According to Bohdanovych, they were all Ukrainian citizens.
Bohdanovych also declined to comment on the plane’s cargo, saying that “details are being clarified,” according to Deutsche Welle. However, according to Greek broadcaster ERT News, citing fire department sources, the crashed plane was carrying approximately 12 tons of “hazardous cargo,” the type of which “has not yet been specified, although the first indications are of ammunition.”
Later that day, on July 17, Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said the plane was carrying “Serbian-made defense products.”
According to European Pravda, the plane took off around 8:40 p.m. from the Serbian city of Nis, carrying nearly 11.5 tons of “products of Serbian defense industry” to the customer — the Defense Ministry of Bangladesh.
The crash’s cause is being investigated. The pilot “managed to alert authorities about a problem in one of the plane’s engines,” according to Greece’s Civil Aviation authority, according to The Guardian. The pilot was given the option of landing in either Thessaloniki or Kavala. He allegedly attempted an emergency landing at the nearby Kavala Airport. The connection with the plane, however, “disappeared almost immediately afterward.”
According to the ERT, the plane’s pilot reported engine failure and requested permission for an emergency landing, but was unable to reach an airport because one of the engines caught fire. The plane went down about 40 kilometers west of the airport.
The crash site also had a strong “smell of burnt fuel” and a “dense cloud of smoke,” according to ERT. The fire department requested the “immediate withdrawal of all fire department forces, as well as all those who are near the area where the aircraft crashed, as the toxicity of the cargo carried by aircraft is unknown,” according to the media.