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Ukraine Crash Landing: Four Killed When Plane Overshoots Runway In Donetsk

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At least four people were killed Wednesday after a twin-engine airplane crash-landed in thick fog near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

According to to Sky News, the small, Soviet-designed AN-24 plane, was carrying 45 passengers and crew to the UEFA Champions League match between Shakhtar Donetsk and German champions Borussia Dortmund when it overshot the runaway at Donetsk’s Sergey Prokofiev International Airport.

The aircraft then turned upside down and broke in three parts, finally coming to rest about 700 meters from the runway, AFP reported citing a local police source.

“The plane missed the landing strip, turned upside down and broke into pieces,” the source said, according to Ria Novosti.

Following the crash, emergency personnel from Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport were immediately dispatched, with surviving passengers transported back to the facility. Andriy Shyshatsky, head of Donetsk’s regional administration, told Reuters four people were confirmed dead, two were injured and the fate of two others remains unknown.

“The large majority of passengers have been saved. At the moment, there are four dead. One person is visible in the wreckage, but we don’t yet know whether he is alive or not. We are searching for one other person,” Shyshatsky is quoted as saying.

While the exact cause of the crash-landing was not immediately clear, officials say “heavy fog” was reported at the time of the incident and may have prevented the plane’s pilot from seeing the runway.

The Associated Press notes that in recent years, former Soviet republics have had some of the world’s worst air traffic safety records.

Experts blame that record on the age of the aircraft, weak government controls, poor pilot training and a cost-cutting mentality.

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