Russian plane carrying up to 17 passengers goes missing in Siberia

Moscow: A Russian Antonov An-28 passenger plane carrying up to 17 people disappeared from radars on Friday while flying over the Siberian region of Tomsk, local officials said, the second such incident this month.

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The region’s governor said two helicopters had been dispatched to search for the plane, which was flying from the town of Kedrovy in the region to the city of Tomsk.

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The aircraft – operated by SiLA, a small airline operating regional flights in Siberia on turboprop aircraft – was thought to have been carrying 17 people, including three crew members, governor Sergei Zhvachkin said.

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The incident comes less than two weeks after a similar aircraft, an Antonov An-26, crashed into a cliff in poor visibility conditions on the remote Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s far east, killing all 28 people on board.

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An Antonov-28, the same type of plane that has gone missing over Tomsk, crashed in a Kamchatka forest in 2012, killing 10 people. Investigators said both pilots were drunk at the time of the crash.

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Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years but accidents, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions, are not uncommon.

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