A plane carrying a group of paratroopers crashed after taking off in Russia’s Tatarstan region early Sunday morning, killing 16 people and wounding six, the Emergencies Ministry said.
At an altitude of 70 meters, the pilots reported that their left engine had failed and attempted an emergency landing near the city of Menzelinsk, trying to turn the plane to the left to avoid an inhabited area, the regional governor said.
But the plane’s wing struck a Gazelle vehicle when the plane landed and flipped over, Tatarstan Governor Rustam Minnikhanov said.
The plane was carrying 20 paratroopers and two crew members. Six people were in serious condition, the Health Ministry said.
The Let L-410 Turbolet twin-engine short-range transport aircraft was owned by an air club in the city of Menzelinsk. The flying club declined to comment, citing a police investigation into the incident.
Cosmonauts use the area for training and the flying club has hosted local, European and world championships, club director Ravil Nurmukhametov said, according to TASS.
The Investigation Committee, which investigates serious crimes, said it had opened a criminal investigation into an alleged violation of security regulations.
The state Cosmonaut Training Center has suspended its ties with the flying club pending an investigation, TASS quoted a source as saying.
Photographs of some of the paratroopers on board were broadcast on the REN television channel and on social networks posing as a team or with a plane.
Russian aviation safety regulations have tightened in recent years, but accidents continue to occur, especially in remote regions.
An old Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed in the Russian Far East last month, killing six people. All 28 people aboard an Antonov An-26 twin-engine turboprop were killed in an accident in Kamchatka in July.