Mystery around the crash and explosion of an Antonov plane in Greece

Last night, the tranquility of eastern Macedonia, in Greece, was disturbed from the sky.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
17 July 2022 Sunday 06:48
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Mystery around the crash and explosion of an Antonov plane in Greece

Last night, the tranquility of eastern Macedonia, in Greece, was disturbed from the sky. A noisy plane flew over the area twice. The second, unexpectedly and heading to Kavala airport. In addition to the noise, it was noted that the device was engulfed in flames. Some residents of the towns of Antifilippi and Paleochori took their mobiles and recorded the situation. Without expecting it, they witnessed the progressive fall of a plane until it exploded when it crashed. It seems that what they saw was more than just an accident

The device, a veteran Antonov AN-12 of Ukrainian construction and registration, burned in a crop field and during the first hours its load exploded repeatedly, as reported by the first residents who approached the area to the ANA-MPA, the Athens-Macedonia news agency. At the time these arrived, a first team of firefighters went to the point of the fall to verify that it was impossible to find any survivors among the wreckage of the plane, which had eight crew members on board, as a spokesman for the airline that owns the plane recognized. turboprop.

The eight occupants of the four-engine Ukrainian Meridian cargo had taken off from Constantine the Great Airport in Niš, Serbia, 240 kilometers south of Belgrade. The flight plan contemplated flying southeast towards Jordan. After 50 minutes of flight, at 6,000 meters above the Aegean and at about 550 kilometers per hour, the plane declared that it was in an emergency. He made a 180-degree turn to try to land at the nearest airport: Kavala, a mixed-use civil and military facility named after Alexander the Great. The Antonov had insufficient power and lift and crashed several kilometers west of the city of Kavala and even further from its airport.

Believing that it was an accident involving a commercial plane, the fire crews and numerous volunteers tried to do their best to help and extinguish the flames, although the alarm immediately went off: the continuous explosions, beyond those caused by the fuel of the Antonov , showed that the cargo could be dangerous, in the same way that the discovery of a white substance and a strong odor that invaded the entire area put the firefighters and the first military personnel sent to the area on guard. These ended up cordoning off everything that surrounded the remains of the device for a radius of two kilometers, preventing access by any path. In addition, two members of the emergency teams had to be hospitalized for inhaling a substance that is yet to be determined.

It was not until this morning that the Greek authorities were able to have a clear picture of the situation, both with the naked eye, and also by sending a reconnaissance drone to the area to record and analyze what happened in that area of ​​eastern Macedonia. Preventively, the residents were asked to confine themselves to their homes and, despite the heat, they were asked not to use the air conditioners to avoid inhaling gases of unknown origin from the cargo carried by the plane. Also preventively, the members of the firefighting teams have been equipped with chemical protection suits and special masks to work in the area.

A team of inspectors has been sent to the scene of the accident from the Greek capital to determine if there is an environmental risk. According to Civil Protection, several units of artificers and deactivation of land mines have also moved to the accident area to do a general sweep and with the same objective a special team from the Ministry of Defense specialized in nuclear, biological and chemical crises has flown there. , as reported by that department.

For its part, and given the magnitude of the situation, also from Athens, the Supreme Court Prosecutor's Office has confirmed that it will be the one to take on the investigation of what happened last night in that area of ​​the country.

The Antonov 12 is a mid-1950s design created for the airlifting needs of the then huge Soviet Army. Between the first flight in 1959 and the end of production in 1973, some 1,300 units were built. Despite its seniority, the robustness of this Ukrainian-made aircraft has meant that many continue to fly, especially in companies from states that formed the former USSR, in Africa and also in the India-Pakistan area.

Among the first are those operated by several Ukrainian companies. These offer their air cargo services to carry practically "whatever, wherever" on board their Antonovs. As an example, just in the last week, the aircraft that crashed yesterday had passed through places like Ankara, Paris, Belgrade, Sarajevo or Marseille. It almost always did so by operating night flights that, with the noise of their engines, usually break the tranquility of several kilometers around the area they fly over. On the other hand, safety statistics indicate that in the last decade, 19 AN-12s have crashed and 13 of these accidents have been fatal.

Yesterday another Antonov 12 fell. In addition to having broken the tranquility of the night in eastern Macedonia, the remains of the Meridian Air aircraft and, above all, what it could carry in its hold, are now worrying Greek authorities and citizens who want to know that was really transporting that device that flew from Serbia to Jordan and ended up falling on your country.

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