At Least 15 Killed as Russian Defence Arm's Plane Crashes in Tatarstan

A twin-engine transport plane crashed in Tatarstan in Russia on Sunday, the country's emergencies ministry said. At least 15 people have been killed and seven injured in the crash.

The plane was a Let L-410 Turbolet, which is a twin-engine short-range transport aircraft. The crash took place at about 9:23am (06:23 GMT) in the republic of Tatarstan with 22 people on board. The Russian ministry said the plane was carrying parachute jumpers. The cause of the accident is still unknown.

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

Plane crash
Wreckage of the L-410 plane at the crash site near the town of Menzelinsk in the Republic of Tatarstan Reuters

Seven people were pulled alive from the wreckage, the emergencies ministry said. The remaining 15 are "without signs of life", a representative of the emergency services told the RIA Novosti news agency.

Images published by the ministry showed the aircraft broken in half with a severely dented nose. The RIA agency cited local authorities as saying one of the engines could have failed.

Fatal Accidents in Russia

Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years but accidents, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions, are not uncommon, reported Reuters.

An ageing Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed in the Russian far east last month killing six people. All 28 people on board an Antonov An-26 twin-engine turboprop died in a crash in Kamchatka in July.

The country also frequently experiences non-fatal air incidents that result in rerouted flights and emergency landings, usually stemming from technical issues, according to Al Jazeera.

Flying in Russia can be particularly dangerous in the vast country's isolated regions, such as the Arctic and the Far East, where weather conditions are frequently extreme, reports the television channel.