A Ukrainian plane carrying a cargo of 11.5 tons of Serbian-made weapons crashed in northern Greece on 16th July 2022. It crashed around 11 pm approximately 40 miles west of Kavala, Greece. The plane was headed to Bangladesh.
The crash killed eight Ukrainians who were the crew members. As the plane was carrying weapons, an investigation was warranted to ascertain whether there was any hazardous material. The state and local officials have said that the investigation was underway to see whether there was any threat to the local population.
The plane was an Antonov An-12BK which was owned by the Ukrainian cargo carrier Meridian. The plane was on the way to Jordan from Serbia, the first of many stops when it crashed. According to the flight records, the pilot contacted the Greece authorities near midnight on Saturday. The pilot reported engine problems and had requested permission to make an emergency landing.
Despite the Ukrainian connection, the Serbian and Ukrainian officials have said that there is no connection to the war in Ukraine. Nebojsa Stefanovic, Serbia’s Defence Minister, said that the plane was carrying weapons made by private Serbian arms manufacturer Valir to Bangladesh in accordance with international rules. The weapons included arms like illuminating mortar rounds and mines, etc. He also said that the weapons shipment was in agreement with Bangladesh’s Defence Ministry.
The drone footage captured of the crash site showed debris and artillery shells spread across the corn field. While a suspicious white powder had settled in and around the crash site, experts from Greece’s land mines disposal team and special unit for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons were working to identify it. However, initial tests have not pointed to any toxic substances.
Few people witnessed the crash of the plane, seeing the fire that arose out of the crash. Greek firefighters were called to the site of the crash. They were unable to go closer to the crash site due to the thick smoke and acrid stench, which they feared was toxic. Greece’s Civil Protection Authority also issued a statement asking for the nearby residents of the village to keep their windows closed and to stay home until further notice. One Mayor even called for a curfew until the investigation had been concluded and findings revealed to be safe.
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