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More than two dozen feared dead after plane crashes in east Russia

More than two dozen feared dead after plane crashes in east Russia
Russian state media reported that the An-26 passenger plane went missing over the Kamchatka Peninsula. Photo by British Ministry of Defense/EPA-EFE/RAF

July 6 (UPI) -- Russian authorities said Tuesday they have found the wreckage of a missing passenger plane in the Kamchatka territory, nearly 2 and a half miles from the airport in Palana.

The An-26 airplane went missing Tuesday morning after taking off from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana, a village in far eastern Russia.

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Bad weather is believed to have been a factor in the crash.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry for the Kamchatka Territory said the plane stopped communicating during the flight over the eastern Kamchatka Peninsula during landing on Tuesday, according to state-run news agency TASS.

All 28 people aboard, 22 passengers and six crew, are feared dead.

"The debris fell into the Sea of Okhotsk after the plane hit a rock, which will significantly complicate the search operation," a source with the Russian emergency services told TASS.

"The plane started landing in difficult weather conditions, with poor visibility and strong side wind. It was unable to land from the first try, and it hit a rock during the second try, having failed to notice it. The plane immediately started disintegrating."

Kamchatka region Gov. Vladimir Solodov said ground search teams were sent to survey the wreckage.

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"From the air, we discovered what we believe is the plane's debris about five kilometers north of Palana," Solodov said, according to TASS. "The plane's fuselage is lying on the shore, while the rest of the aircraft is scattered over the coastal area."

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