Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said the plane was carrying equipment, including incendiary mortar bombs and practice bombs, for Bangladesh when it crashed near Eleftheropol in the northeastern Kavala region, Reuters reported. He said all eight workers were killed.
According to Greek public broadcaster ERT, the plane was carrying “dangerous cargo”. Smoke and intense heat, as well as a white substance found near the crash site, raised concerns about possible toxicity, said Major General Marios Apostolidis, head of the Greek fire brigade.
Antonov 12, operated by Ukrainian cargo airline Meridian, crashed shortly before 11 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) on Saturday, ERT reported.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook Sunday that the plane crashed while traveling from Serbia to Bangladesh via Jordan. The cause of the accident is believed to be engine failure.
All eight board members are Ukrainian citizens, Nikolenko added. An operational headquarters was set up by the Ukrainian embassy in Thessaloniki, where Ukrainian embassy officials worked with local rescue and law enforcement teams at the crash site.
The Greek Fire Service reported that 15 firefighters and seven pieces of equipment were at the scene of the accident. Apostolidis added that the drone will be used to assess the safety of the crash site.
Experts are also working to determine what the white substance is and the toxicity of the scene before proceeding with recovery efforts. Authorities are yet to recover the plane’s flight recorder.
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