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The Ukrainian Air Force’s An-26 transport aircraft had crashed in the Kharkiv region and claimed the lives of 26 people on board.

The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated that the accident happened when it was landing.

It was carrying seven crew members and 20 cadets on board.

The authorities have launched search operations to find the missing people. A special commission of military engineers has also been set up to determine the cause.

In a conversation with journalists, Minister of Defence of Ukraine Andrii Taran said: “Preliminary analysis suggests that the plane most likely caught the wing on the ground.”

“Everything went according to the plan; the plane performed training flights to train cadets. At the helm was a pilot, an instructor, the cadets took turns sitting in the right seat next to him to gain piloting skills and control of the aircraft.

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By GlobalData

“The flight recorder is now on the plane, after analysing the information recorded there, it will be possible to draw conclusions.”

As per the preliminary assessment undertaken by flight safety experts, one of the sensors in the aircraft’s left engine failed. The engine had another five thousand flight hours before its next scheduled maintenance.

The BBC quoted the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) as saying that the crash occurred five minutes after the flight commander sent a request to land due to left engine failure.

Taran stated that the aircraft was manufactured in 1977 and had an additional three years of life before it had to be renewed.

In May, a Croatian airforce training aircraft crashed in the south-west of the country and claimed the lives of two airforce members on board.