kavala A special unit of the Greek army began on Sunday morning examining the wreckage of the cargo plane that crashed near the northeastern Greek city of Kavala late Saturday evening. 11.5 tons of ammunition for mortar shells are said to have been on board, as Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic announced at a press conference in Belgrade in the morning.
The Antonov An-12 took off from the Serbian city of Nis. According to Stefanovic Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the destination of the cargo was the local Ministry of Defense. The aircraft had all the necessary permits for transport, and the ammunition was being produced by a Serbian company.
Allegations in the media that the Antonovs transferred arms from Serbia to the Ukraine should transport, rejected the minister. The plane belongs only to a Ukrainian airline.
All eight crew members died in the accident. The Ukrainian consul in Thessaloniki said they were Ukrainians.
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The plane was en route to an initial refueling stop in Jordan when the pilot reported engine problems over the northern Aegean Sea and requested an emergency landing at Kavala. The flight tracker Flightradar24 showed how the plane changed course near the Chalkidiki peninsula over the North Aegean towards Kavala. But the machine didn’t make it there – it crashed into a field near the villages of Paleochori and Antifilippi.
In the area, a number of residents saw and filmed the crash of the plane, which was already on fire in the air and was therefore clearly visible in the night sky.
All that remains of Antonov is rubble
After the accident, acrid fumes were detected, and hours later there were explosions around the wreck. The fire brigade therefore withdrew immediately and cordoned off the area. “Even though we wore masks, the air was unbearable. There was not only smoke, but also acrid fumes,” a firefighter told journalists. Two of his colleagues were taken to the hospital with respiratory problems. Residents were asked not to leave their homes and to keep the windows closed.
Drone recordings in the morning showed a picture of the devastation – a huge swath ran across the fields, from the machine itself only rubble was left.
Meanwhile, local residents became concerned about the Antonov’s potentially toxic cargo. The mayor of the municipality of Pangeo, Filippos Anastasiadis, ruled out nuclear and chemical warfare agents in an interview with state broadcaster ERT.
Eight dead in cargo plane crash in northern Greece
The military is still on site with a special unit that works with the NBC defense force armed forces comparable: The experts can track down nuclear, biological and chemical warfare agents and industrial hazardous substances and also specialize in the decontamination of people, material and infrastructure. Mayor Anastasiadis said they are ready to evacuate the villages if necessary.