A Ukrainian plane carrying explosives crashed in Greece on Saturday. The aircraft, which took off from Serbia for Jordan, crashed near the city of Kavala in northern Greece.
The Antonov cargo plane operated by a Ukraine-based airline had eight people on board. So far, it's not confirmed whether they survived the crash or not.
One of The Plane's Engines Started Malfunctioning Mid-Air
The pilot detected a problem in one of the plane's engines, which started malfunctioning mid-air. He informed officials about it and was given two choices.
The first was to land at Thessaloniki airport while the second was to land at Kavala airport. The pilot opted for the Kavala one as it was closer.
Locals reported seeing a fireball and a plume of smoke. The explosions have sparked speculation among locals and some Greek media the plane was carrying explosives. State broadcaster ERT reported that army explosive experts were rushed to the site, located on farmland close to two villages that are part of the Paggaio municipality, according to the Associated Press.
Local officials have claimed that they heard explosions for more than minutes. "We were hearing explosions until a few minutes ago. I am about 300 meters from the site of the crash," Filippos Anastassiadis, mayor of the municipality of Paggaio, told the AP.
Videos Show Aircraft Bursting Into Flames Mid-Air
Videos of the incident that emerged on social media show aircraft bursting into flames mid-air before sparking a huge fireball explosion.
The Soviet-built turboprop aircraft An-12, which was operated by cargo carrier Meridian, had 12 tons of dangerous materials," mostly explosives.
Local police and service officials had warned residents to stay away from the crash site and keep their windows shut the whole night. They also told residents to wear masks and not to leave their homes.
The precaution began after a strong smell emanated from the crash site, endorsing speculation of the presence of a dangerous chemical on the plane, according to The Times of Israel.