Moscow, Dec 19, 2016 (AFP) – A plane carrying Russian soldiers crashed in Siberia on Monday, seriously injuring 16, the defence ministry said, quoted by Russian news agencies. The Ilyushin-18 plane carrying 32 passengers and seven crew made an emergency landing around 4:45 am Moscow time (01:45 GMT) in the eastern Siberian region of Sakha, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Everyone survived but 16 suffered serious injuries, with three in a very serious condition, and were airlifted to the nearest hospital, Sakha’s regional authorities said in a statement, citing the emergency ministry. In conflicting reports, the Sakha authorities said there were 32 people on board including eight crew.
The passengers were officers from the eastern Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk, a source in the emergency ministry told Interfax news agency. The defence ministry plane was due to land at Tiksi, around 4,300 kilometres (2,700 miles) northeast of Moscow and beyond the Arctic Circle, the Sakha authorities said.
The plane was found 30 kilometres from the aerodrome at around 08:00 Moscow time, the Sakha authorities said. The preliminary cause of the plane’s emergency landing was “a strong sidewind with gusts,” the authorities said. The defence ministry said it had sent a specially equipped plane to evacuate those whose condition allowed them to travel to hospitals in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.