A cargo plane owned by a Ukrainian company crashed in northern Greece on Saturday, with reports saying locals have been ordered to stay away from the site due to unknown dangerous materials with a “peculiar odor.”
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Reports said eight people were believed to have been on board an Antonov AN-12TBK cargo plane when it crashed late on Saturday some 25 miles west of the airport of Kavala in northern Greece.
According to Kathimerini Greece, the country’s Civil Aviation department said the pilot had alerted authorities about a problem in one of the plane’s four engines before being given permission for an emergency landing.
Video footage uploaded on ertnews.gr showed an aircraft in flames descending fast before hitting the ground in what appeared to be an explosion.
A coordinating committee made up of municipal, law enforcement, and fire service officials told residents in the area to keep their windows shut all night and turn off air conditioners, citing precaution due to a strong smell emanating from the crash site.
Authorities said they did not know if there were dangerous chemicals on the plane, including those contained in batteries.
Nobody is allowed to approach the site except authorized personnel, according to Greek officials, while journalists reporting on the disaster have been told to wear protective masks after information emerged about an unspecified "peculiar odor" felt in the area.
Initial reports said emergency crews attempted to approach the wreckage, while video footage online suggested there were secondary explosions pointing to the aircraft possibly carrying explosives.
The Soviet-built turboprop aircraft was believed to have been carrying 12 tons of “dangerous materials,” mostly explosives, according to Greek media.
But civil aviation authorities said they did not know if there were dangerous chemicals aboard commercial flight MEM3032, which was operated by Ukrainian-based Meridian Air Cargo when it took off in Serbia en route to Jordan.
"We are treating the cargo as dangerous material," a fire department official said.