Russian transport plane crashes in Syria, killing all 39 on board

MOSCOW – A Russia’s Antonov-26 transport plane has crashed in Syria as it was about to land, the Defense Ministry confirmed on Tuesday.

“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 Russian defense ministry as saying.

The country’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case into the crash, but preliminary data suggests it could be a technical malfunction. A commission to examine all possible versions of the crash has been set up, the TASS reported.

VIDEO: Russian plane crashes near Moscow, killing all 71 on board

“According to preliminary information, a technical problem could have been the cause of the crash.The plane hit the ground when it was about 500 meters short of the runway,” the Defense Ministry said.

“According to reports from the scene, no fire was delivered against the plane,” the ministry added.

Investigators said the criminal case would look into suggestions that flight safety rules had been flouted.