Passenger Plane Crashes In Afghanistan’s Northern Badakhshan, Casualties Feared

A Russian-registered charter plane carrying six individuals mysteriously disappeared from radar screens over Afghanistan, leaving authorities puzzled about its fate. The incident unfolded on Saturday, with Afghan police subsequently receiving reports of a potential crash, news agency Reuters reported. The aircraft, identified as a charter ambulance flight, commenced its journey from Thailand’s Utapao Airport in Pattaya and was en route to Moscow via India and Uzbekistan.

The aircraft in question is a vintage French-made Dassault Aviation Falcon 10 jet, manufactured in 1978, as disclosed by Russian aviation authorities, Reuters reported.

Approximately 25 minutes before vanishing from radar screens, the pilot issued a distressing message about the dwindling fuel supply. The pilot communicated an intention to attempt a landing at an airport in Tajikistan, according to Russian news outlet SHOT which cited an anonymous source, a Reuters report mentioned. The situation escalated when the pilot reported the failure of both engines, as per SHOT’s report.

Contrary to initial reports, the Ministry of Civil Aviation confirmed that the crashed plane was not Indian.

“The unfortunate plane crash that has just occurred in Afghanistan is neither an Indian Scheduled Aircraft nor a Non-Scheduled (NSOP)/Charter aircraft. It is a Moroccan-registered small aircraft. More details are awaited,” the ministry stated in a post on X.

The Civil Aviation Ministry further stated that the crashed aircraft is a DF-10 (Dassault Falcon) small aircraft registered in Morocco. It is not an aircraft of Indian carriers. The aircraft was an air ambulance and was flying from Thailand to Moscow and did refueling at Gaya Airport, according to news agency ANI.

The flight was reportedly conducting a private medical evacuation from Pattaya, a favoured tourist destination for Russians, to Moscow. The patient on board, a bedridden Russian citizen in serious condition, was being transported from a hospital in Pattaya to Russia, as reported by the Russian state-run TASS news agency, citing the Russian embassy in Bangkok.

“The patient was accompanied by her husband, a private entrepreneur, also a Russian citizen, who paid for the flight,” RIA news agency reported, citing a source at Thailand’s Utapao International Airport. Numerous Russian media outlets have identified the passengers as a couple from Volgodonsk in southern Russia. The manifest list, published by SHOT, appeared to confirm that the entire crew were Russian nationals, Reuters reported.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has initiated a criminal case to ascertain whether safety regulations were breached in this incident, the report mentioned.

According to Reuters’ report, the Taliban-run Afghan aviation ministry issued a statement asserting that the plane’s intended route did not include traversing Afghan airspace. The statement suggested that “probably due to technical issues,” the plane deviated from its planned course. The ministry has deployed a technical team to investigate the matter.

Afghanistan’s police received reports of a potential plane crash in the remote and mountainous region of Badakhshan, situated in the far north of the country. Zabihullah Amiri, a spokesperson for Badakhshan’s provincial government, confirmed the dispatch of a team to the crash site, which is more than 200 km (124 miles) from the provincial capital, Fayzabad, requiring a 12-hour journey to reach, according to the local news media Tolonews.

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