Nine Killed as Belarusian Cargo Plane Crashes

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At least nine people died after a Belarussian-owned cargo plane crash-landed in Siberia and burst into flames.

All nine people on board died after disappearing from radar just outside the city of Irkutsk, officials said.

Russia’s federal aviation agency Rosaviatsiya said the Antonov An-12 plane circled around after first coming in to land.

“The only thing we can see is that, unfortunately, everyone is dead,” said Igor Kobzev, the regional governor of Irkutsk.

Video footage from the scene showed rescuers battling to put out the flames, illuminated by torchlight in pitch black, snowy conditions.

The local branch of the Russian Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case over violation of transport safety rules.

Air accidents are not uncommon across the former Soviet Union, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions.

Russia, once known for aircraft-related accidents, has improved its air traffic safety records in the past few years.

However, poor maintenance of air crafts and a low level of safety standards still prevail.

The country’s main airlines have shifted from aging Soviet aircraft to more modern planes.

But maintenance issues and lax compliance with safety rules have remained a problem.

Flying is also dangerous in the country’s isolated regions with difficult weather conditions.

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