Bodies of 9 plane accident victims found in Russia’s Far East

Rescuers have discovered the bodies of nine victims per day after a plane accident in a remote area in Russia’s Far East, local authorities said.

An Antonov An-26 conveying 28 people crashed Tuesday close to its destination town of Palana in the region of Kamchatka, apparently as it came in for a landing in bad weather.

Wreckage was discovered Tuesday evening on a coastal cliffside and in the sea, and the search and rescue operation was suspended until Wednesday morning after night fell, as the accident site was difficult to access in the dark.

The governor of Kamchatka, Vladimir Solodov, told the state Tass news agency that the “first bodies are being pulled out (of the water).” Russia’s Emergency Ministry said that nine bodies have been found so far, and one has already been identified.

Russian media reported Tuesday that none of the six crew members or 22 passengers on board had survived. The head of the local government in Palana, Olga Mokhireva, was among the passengers, spokespeople of the Kamchatka government said.

Solodov said Tuesday that a group of government officials including Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev will head to Palana on Wednesday.

In the aftermath of the accident, the authorities in Kamchatka have declared three days of grieving. Officials said that families of the victims will receive payments of more than 3.5 million rubles (about USD 47,200) that will include compensation from the airline, a protection payment and a subsidy from the regional government.

In 2012, an Antonov An-28 plane belonging to Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise crashed into a mountain while flying a similar route as Tuesday’s flight. A total of 14 people were on board and 10 of them were killed. Both pilots, who were among the dead, were found to have liquor in their blood, Tass reported.

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