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One dead in crash of Russian military transport plane

By Ed Adamczyk

May 31 (UPI) -- A Russian military plane crashed during a training flight, killing one person, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Five others aboard the plane were hospitalized. The plane was a twin-engine, turboprop cargo-carrying Antonov AN-26 made in the former Soviet Union. It crashed and caught fire Monday as it attempted to land at the Balashov air base in southwestern Russia's Saratov region, the ministry said.

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Russia's Investigative Committee, its equivalent of the FBI, said it is investigating the incident. It suggested an engine failure was the cause of the crash, adding that a criminal probe has also begun to determine if flight rules and preparations were followed.

Although the AN-26 is an old design, it is still widely used in the Russian military, which has staged frequent exercises since the start of its military involvement in Ukraine and Syria. One plane in the aging fleet, a Su-27 fighter plane, crashed in 2016, leading to the grounding of 300 planes. Tupolev Tu-95 bombers were also grounded in 2015 after one plane caught fire.

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