Russian army plane crash in Syria kills 39

Russians are in mourning after a military plane crashed as it came in to land in Syria, killing 39.
Russians are in mourning after a military plane crashed as it came in to land in Syria, killing 39.

A Russian military transport plane has crashed in Syria, killing all 39 people on board, Russian news agencies quote the defence ministry as saying.

The defence ministry was cited as saying that the plane, a Soviet-designed An-26, crashed at Russia's Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province on Tuesday and that initial information suggested the incident may have been caused by a technical fault.

"According to the latest updates, the An-26 transport aircraft, which crashed while landing at Hmeymim airbase, was carrying 33 passengers and six crew. All of them were members of the Russian Armed Forces," Interfax news agency quoted the defence ministry as saying.

"The crew and the passengers were killed."

Originally, Russian news agencies cited the defence ministry as saying that 32 passengers and crew were killed in the crash, but this was later revised.

Russian state TV cited military officials as saying the aircraft had not been brought down by enemy fire. It said the crash happened as the plane came into land at Hmeymim, and that it came down around 500 metres short of the runway.

Putin, on an election campaign stop in the Ural mountains, was briefed on the crash via telephone by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and expressed his condolences to the relatives and colleagues of those killed, the Kremlin said.

Australian Associated Press