Plane crash near Belgrade kills 12
August 19, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT)
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- A Russian cargo plane
crashed while attempting an emergency
landing near Belgrade's airport early Monday, killing all 12
The privately owned Illyushin-76 aircraft took off from
bound for Malta just after midnight. An air traffic control
official told The Associated Press that the plane lost radio
contact with the airport shortly after takeoff and circled
the city for several hours trying to burn off fuel before
attempting to land.
"It zoomed over our heads several times before crashing,"
said airport employee Milan Spasic. "It nearly hit the
control tower on one of the passes."
The plane exploded into flames on impact in a cornfield
northeast of the airport.
Crash investigators said in a statement that the four-engine
jet most likely crashed due to a failure of the plane's
The Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations reported from
Moscow that the plane, reportedly owned by a company called
Spiaero based in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, was
carrying airplane tires. But
Belgrade radio stations said the aircraft was hauling arms
ammunition, and that explosions occurred at the burning crash
site for hours after the plane went down.
Radio stations also reported that the pilot's last
communication with air traffic control, 15 minutes after
takeoff, reported "total failure" of the jet's systems.
The plane carried 10 crew members and two cargo workers. All
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.