A Russian Antonov An-26, twin-engined turboprop airplane with 28 people on board, including the head of a local government, went missing on Tuesday in the far east Kamchatka peninsula, the country’s emergencies ministry said.
The plane, carrying 22 passengers and six crew members, was en route from the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to the village of Palana in the northern part of the peninsula when it lost contact with air traffic control and disappeared from radar, agencies quoted local officials as saying.
Olga Mokhireva, the head of the local government in Palana, was aboard the flight, the spokespeople of the Kamchatka government said.
A probe into the incident has been launched and several ships were en route to the crash site, RIA quoted emergency services as saying.
The plane belonged to a company called Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise. Two helicopters and an airplane have been deployed to chart the missing plane’s route.
AFP quoted Valentina Glazova, spokesperson for the local transport prosecutor’s office, as saying that: “All that is known at this time, what has been possible to establish, is that communication with the plane was interrupted and it did not land.”
Air traffic control lost contact with the airplane about 10 kilometres (6 miles) away from the Palana airport.
The plane has been in operation since 1982, but Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise’s director Alexei Khabarov told Interfax news agency that it was technically sound.