16 dead after a plane crash in the Russian region of Tatarstan | News

The plane was carrying a group of paratroopers when it went down after a reported engine failure.

At least 16 people were killed and six injured in a plane crash on Sunday in the Russian region of Tatarstan.

The plane, which crashed near the town of Menzelinsk, was carrying 20 paratroopers and two crew members. Six people were in serious condition, the health ministry said. The accident happened around 09:23 (06:23 GMT).

“Six people were rescued, 16 were evacuated with no sign of life,” the emergency ministry said.

Tatarstan Governor Rustam Minnikhanov, who visited the scene, said the pilots reported engine failure and requested an emergency landing shortly after takeoff. He said the plane tried to avoid a nearby residential area as it approached to land, but “the altitude did not allow it”.

The plane hit a parked van with its wing and the plane flipped over.

Russian investigators have launched a criminal investigation into the breach of security rules.

Cosmonaut training

The plane was a Let L-410 Turbolet, which is a short-range, twin-engine transport aircraft. He belonged to a flying club in Menzelinsk, TASS news agency reported.

According to Interfax, the plane belonged to the Voluntary Society for the Assistance of the Army, Air Force and Navy of Russia, which describes itself as a sports and defense organization.

It was created in the 1920s and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel in space in 1961, trained at its airfields.

The head of the Menzelinsk skydiving club said he was not responsible for the accident.

“We are the best, we are among the top five clubs,” Ravil Nurmekhametov told TASS, adding that the club had hosted European and world championships.

“Cosmonauts train here,” he said.

The state-run cosmonaut training center has suspended ties with the flying club pending an investigation.

Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years, but accidents, especially involving aging planes in remote areas, are not uncommon.

Last month, an aging Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed in the Russian Far East, killing six people.

All 28 people aboard an Antonov An-26 twin-engine turboprop died in an accident in Kamchatka in July.

The country also frequently experiences non-fatal aviation incidents that result in diverted flights and emergency landings, usually due to technical issues.

Flying in Russia can be particularly dangerous in remote areas of the vast country, such as the Arctic and the Far East, where weather conditions are often extreme.

Rose D. Jones