SAINT PETERSBURG, 06 July: A Russian AN-26 aeroplane with at least 28 people on board has gone missing in Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east, news agencies cited regional authorities as saying.
It was flying from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana in the Kamchatka Peninsula when it did not make a scheduled call-in, the Interfax, RIA Novosti and TASS agencies quoted local officials as saying on Tuesday.
The aeroplane lost contact with air traffic control while attempting to land, TASS separately cited a source as saying.
There were conflicting reports of what may have happened, with one source telling TASS the plane could have crashed into the sea and another telling Interfax it may have gone down near a coal mine close to the town of Palana.
A search had been launched involving at least two helicopters and rescue workers were on standby, the reports said.
Russia, once notorious for plane accidents, has improved its air traffic safety record in recent years.
But poor aircraft maintenance and lax safety standards still persist, and the country has seen several deadly air accidents in recent years.
The last major air accident took place in May 2019, when a Sukhoi Superjet belonging to the flag carrier airline Aeroflot crash-landed and caught fire on the runway of a Moscow airport, killing 41 people.
The Foreign Office rejected on Monday media reports claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Pakistan in July.
“We have seen some media reports regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Pakistan,” spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chaudhry said in a statement.
“While invitations for visits at the summit level have been extended by both sides, no such visit has been scheduled yet,” he clarified. The spokesperson said Pakistan and Russia are close partners and friends.