Russian Military Plane Crashes in Siberia, Injuring 32

MOSCOW (Reuters) -
In this handout photo released by Yakutsk.ru web portal shows Emergency Ministry employees investigate the wreckage of an Il-18 turboprop, that crash-landed about 19 miles from the town of Tiksi in the Sakha-Yakutia region on the Laptev Sea, Russia, Monday. (Yakutsk.ru photo via AP)

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that one of its planes had crashed in northeastern Siberia with 39 people on board as it tried to make an emergency landing near a Soviet-era military base.

Russian news agencies reported that nobody had been killed in the incident, but said 32 people had been airlifted to hospital, 16 of whom were in serious condition.

The Il-18 aircraft came down around 19 miles from an airfield near the town of Tiksi in the Sakha Republic at 4:45 a.m. local time, the TASS news agency reported.

High winds may have forced the plane to make an emergency landing, Alexei Kolodeznikov, the deputy head of the regional government, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

The Defence Ministry said a team of military investigators had been flown to the crash site.

The Il-18, a Soviet-era propeller plane whose design dates from the 1950s, had taken off from an air base in Kansk in western Siberia with 39 people on board, including seven crew.

Tiksi, a coastal town of around 5,000 people inside the Arctic circle, hosts a Soviet-era military air base that has been renovated in recent years as part of President Vladimir Putin’s drive to remilitarize the Arctic.