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This picture taken on July 17, 2022, shows debris on the crash site of an Antonov An-12 cargo aircraft a few kilometers away from the city of Kavala in Greece. Image Credit: AFP

Belgrade: All eight crew members of a cargo plane that crashed near the Greek city of Kavala died in the accident, Serbia’s defence minister said on Sunday.

The Antonov An-12 was carrying around 11 tonnes of weapons as well as mines to Bangladesh when it crashed on Saturday night, Nebojsa Stefanovic said.

Drone images from the scene showed debris from the bulking Antonov An-12 aircraft strewn in fields. Greek authorities said there were eight crew members on board and a Ukrainian foreign mnistry spokesman said they were all Ukrainian citizens.

Serbia’s defence minister said the plane was carrying 11.5 tonnes of products made by its defence industry and the buyer was Bangladesh defence ministry.

Stefanovic said the cargo included illuminating mortar shells and training shells. It had taken off at 1840 GMT from Nis.

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This picture taken on July 17, 2022, shows debris on the crash site of an Antonov An-12 cargo aircraft a few kilometers away from the city of Kavala in Greece. Image Credit: AFP

“The plane carried 11.5 tonnes of products made by our defense industry. The buyer was the Bangladesh defense ministry,” Stefanovic said.

He added that the plane’s cargo was owned by Serbian company Valir, a trade company registered to perform foreign trade activities of armament military equipment and other defence products.

State TV ERT said that the signal of the aircraft was lost soon after the pilot requested an emergency landing from Greek aviation authorities due to an engine problem. Amateur video footage uploaded on ertnews.gr showed the aircraft in flames descending fast before hitting the ground in what appeared to be an explosion.

On Sunday morning, a brigade official told reporters that firefighters “felt their lips burning” and white dust was floating in the air.

“We don’t know what has been affecting us,” fire brigade coordinator Marios Apostolidis said.