A Russian Antonov An-26 Russian transport plane crashed while trying to land at Hmeymim airbase in northwest Syria killing 33 passengers and six crew members.
According to preliminary data, an Antonov An-26 transport aircraft hit the ground 500 meters from Hmeymim airfield during its landing approach at around 15:00 Moscow time on March 6, Tass reported citing the Russian Defense Ministry Tuesday.
Earlier, it was reported that there were 26 passengers and six crew members aboard the aircraft.
A technical fault could have been the cause of the plane’s crash, the ministry said, adding that the Defense Ministry’s commission would examine all possible versions of the crash. The ministry also ruled out the possibility that the plane had been fired upon.
"The Russian Investigative Committee’s military investigators have launched a criminal case under Section 351 of Russia’s Criminal Code (Violation of flight rules or Preparations for Them)," Russia’s Investigative Committee’s spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko was quoted as saying by Tass Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the incident by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a working visit to Russia's Sverdlovsk region, the Kremlin said in a statement.