Athens, Jul 18 (EFE).- Greek rescue teams recovered the bodies of the eight crew members of a Ukrainian plane that crashed in Greece while transporting 11.5 tons of munitions to Bangladesh, the country’s civil protection reported on Monday.
The search for the crew members’ bodies was accelerated after the Greek fire service clarified on Sunday afternoon that the suspicious white matter found at the scene was not toxic.
The efforts of the bomb disposal teams are focused Monday on removing the remains of the military material that was scattered around the scene of the crash, which occurred on Saturday night in northern Greece.
Serbia’s defense minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said the plane was an Antonov AN-12 that was carrying 11.5 tons of munitions. It left Serbia at 8.40pm local time en route to Dhaka in Bangladesh with scheduled stops in Amman, Jordan, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he added.
The plane belonged to a Ukrainian company and had been chartered by a private firm to export the munition. Stefanovic said the flight was legal and had been approved by the Serbian defense ministry.
The pilot contacted authorities 28 minutes after entering the Greek airspace to report an engine failure and said he would return to the departure airport, local authorities revealed on Monday.
A few minutes later, he informed the aviation authorities that the fourth engine caught fire.
Three minutes later, the pilot spoke with the control tower in the northeastern Greek Kavala city to announce that he would make an emergency landing.
He was granted a permit for the airport in that city but then the aircraft disappeared from radar. EFE