Authorities reported that a Ukrainian airline’s Antonov freight plane crashed on Saturday close to Kavala in northern Greece. After the disaster, locals claimed to have seen a fireball and heard explosions for two hours. According to Greek Civil Aviation authorities, the flight was going from Jordan to Serbia. Meridian Cargo operated the turboprop An-12, which was built in the Soviet Union. According to Greek media, there were eight persons on board and 12 tons of “hazardous materials,” largely explosives. Local authorities, however, claimed to be unaware of the cargo and to have different estimates of the number of passengers. A coordinating committee made up of municipal, police, and fire service representatives advised residents of the two communities closest to the crash site to keep their windows closed throughout the night, stay inside their homes, and wear masks as a precaution due to a potent smell coming from the crash site.
Authorities claim they are unsure if the jet had any hazardous substances, including those found in batteries. According to Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority, the pilot was able to notify authorities of a problem with one of the aircraft’s engines. He was given the option of landing in either the Kavala or Thessaloniki airports; however, the pilot chose Kavala because it was closer and claimed he had to make an emergency landing. Almost quickly after, contact with the plane was lost, and the plane crashed about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of the airport.