A Ukrainian Cargo Operator, Meridian Cargo Antonov An-12BK, registration UR-CIC, operating flight MEM3032, crashed near Kavala International Airport, Greece (LGKV) on Saturday 16th July evening. The aircraft departed from Nis Constantine the Great Airport, Serbia (LYNI) to Amman Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan (OJAI). According to the flight manifest, the aircraft was carrying dangerous/hazardous cargo.
An hour into the flight, while flying over Greece, the crew declared an inflight emergency and made a 180-degree turn due to an engine fire and requested an emergency landing at Kavala. Unfortunately, the aircraft crashed before reaching the airport. Images captured by witnesses show fire in the aircraft before it hit the ground.
BREAKING: Ukrainian cargo plane crashes near Kavala in northeast Greece pic.twitter.com/0tRcBsSXSC— BNO News (@BNONews) July 16, 2022
Initial reports indicate that emergency crews attempted to approach the stricken aircraft, but secondary explosions from the aircraft cargo prevented rescue attempts. Two firefighters were taken to the hospital with respiratory problems, while others suffered burns on the lips and tongue.
An exclusion zone of 100 meters was declared and drones have been deployed to check the crash site. Residents have been advised not to approach the area, to keep doors and windows closed, and not even to use their air conditioners until there is a safe assessment of possible air contamination from the aircraft’s materials.
According to Greek News Agency kavalanews.gr, during its crash, the aircraft hit power cables, resulting in a general blackout in Nikisiani, Georgiani, Agios Christoforos, Paleochori and Antifilippo areas.
Meridian Airline is a Ukrainian company founded in 2003 which operates a fleet of An-12 aircraft cargo aircraft. It has several contractual works around the world with United Nations (UN) and NATO transporting military and specialized cargo.