Greek authorities announced late on Sunday that they recovered all eight bodies belonging to the crew members of the cargo plane that crashed near the city of Kavala in northern Greece.
The Ukrainian-operated Antonov An-12 was carrying mines and around eleven tons of weapons to Bangladesh when it crashed on Saturday night.
Videos shared by eyewitnesses on social media showed the plane engulfed by a giant fireball as it hit the ground.
The plane had taken off from Nis airport in Serbia at around 8:40 pm (1840 GMT) on Saturday, carrying weapons owned by private Serbian company Valir, Nebojsa Stefanovic, Serbia’s defense minister said.
He added that all crew members are believed to be Ukrainian.
The Serbian defense minister said the weapons shipment had been agreed with the Bangladeshi defense ministry “in accordance with international rules.”
“Unfortunately some media have speculated that the plane was carrying weapons destined for Ukraine but that is completely untrue,” he said.
Greek media said the plane had requested clearance to make an emergency landing at Kavala airport but had not managed to reach it.
Greek rescue services were using a drone on Sunday to monitor the aircraft’s wreckage as fears about the toxicity of the cargo were forcing them to keep at a distance.
State-run TV said the army, explosives experts, and Greek Atomic Energy Commission staff approached the crash site once it was safe.
“Men from the fire service with special equipment and measuring instruments approached the point of impact of the aircraft and had a close look at the fuselage and other parts scattered in the fields,” Marios Apostolidis, a fire brigade official, told reporters.
Burning inferno on site of the plane crash
Witnesses who approached the site of the crash on Saturday night spoke of a burning sensation on their mouth and lips.
Two firefighters and one reporter were taken to the hospital with respiratory symptoms. Continuing explosions could be heard for two hours after the collision.
Local TV network ENA published drone videos depicting Saturday’s inferno and an aerial view of the crash site on Sunday morning.
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