Ukrainian President Zelenskiy Declares Day Of Mourning After Military Plane Crash
By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service September 26, 2020
Searchers combing the area where a Ukrainian military aircraft crashed found two more bodies on September 26, bringing the death toll to 26. One person survived.
The plane, a twin-turboprop Antonov-26 belonging to the Ukrainian Air Force, was carrying a crew of seven and 20 cadets of a military aviation school when it crashed and burst into flames in the evening on September 25 while coming in for landing at the airport in Chuhuyiv, about 400 kilometers east of the capital Kyiv.
Two people initially survived the crash, but one later died in a hospital. No cause for the crash has been determined.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declared September 26 to be a day of mourning for the crash victims and ordered that flights of An-26 planes be halted pending investigation into the cause of the crash.
Zelenskiy, who visited the crash area on September 26, called for a full assessment of the condition of the country's military equipment. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called for an official report on the crash by October 25.
"Yesterday we lost young cadets and experienced military men, who had their whole lives and, I am sure, more than one military feat ahead of them," Zelenskiy said in a statement released by his office. "The whole country will mourn today with their families."
The An-26 is a transport plane used by both military and civilian operators. Nearly 1,400 of the planes were manufactured from 1969 to 1986, according to the company's website. Defense Minister Andriy Taran said the plane that crashed was built in 1977.
With reporting by AP, Interfax, and TASS
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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