An-12 Freighter Carrying Landmines Crashes in Greece

The Antonov airplane belonged to a Ukrainian cargo airline.

A Soviet-built propeller cargo airplane operated by a small Ukrainian airline crashed in northern Greece late Saturday with a 12.5-ton load of Serbian munitions destined for Bangladesh, according to officials and media accounts. All eight crew members on board the Meridian cargo airline were killed.

The Antonov An-12, a four-engine turboprop, was heading from Niš, Serbia, to Amman, Jordan, for a refueling stop, when it went down about 40 kilometers (21.6 nm) west of the Kavala airport (LGKV) after the pilot radioed about problems with one of the engines, according to FlightRadar24. 

Local eyewitnesses said the airplane was on fire as it descended. The Ukrainian foreign ministry confirmed that all of the dead were Ukrainian nationals.

Serbian defense officials said the freighter was transporting Serbian-made landmines, mortar shells, and other weaponry to Bangladesh, the BBC and other media sources reported.

Greek authorities warned people to stay in their homes because of concerns about chemical fumes and explosions from the destroyed cargo.

The aircraft that went down was more than 50 years old. An-12s were originally built by the Antonov Design Bureau, located in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a medium-range cargo and paratroop transport aircraft for the Soviet air force.


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