The incident occurred on Sept 25 / Photo from dbr.gov.ua

State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents have reported on progress made on a probe into an An-26 plane crash in Chuhuiv, Kharkiv region, on September 25.

In particular, they have interrogated over 40 witnesses as part of a criminal investigation conducted under Article 416 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which is the violation of the rules of flights and preparations for them, which entailed serious consequences, the SBI said on Facebook on September 28.

Read alsoIdentification of An-26 crash victims to take up to three weeks – local authorities

In particular, the SBI investigators had carried out a number of investigative actions as of September 28:

  • Inspected the crash site, collected a significant amount of evidence, including two flight recorders (the so-called "black boxes");
  • Examined the bodies of 25 victims, involving forensic experts;
  • Appointed 26 forensic tests;
  • Collected samples of fuel used by the plane, as well as soil samples at the crash site;
  • Seized flight documents at the Air Force unit involved;
  • Requested and received reports and documents from the Ukrainian national weather service, Ukrainian State Air Traffic Service Enterprise (UkSATSE), state-run Antonov Enterprise (the manufacturer of An-family aircraft), the Command of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine;
  • Interrogated more than 40 people as witnesses;
  • Collected biological samples for further DNA tests from 18 relatives of the cadets killed in the plane crash and seven relatives of the killed crew members;
  • Appointed 25 molecular genetic tests;
  • Requested documents related to repairs and extension of the service life of the engines that were used on the ill-fated An-26 plane;
  • Filed seven motions to seize collected personal belongings and documents for further molecular genetic tests.

The investigators are also taking measures to return the victims' bodies to the relatives as soon as possible.

An-26 accident in Chuhuiv: Background

  • The military plane crashed by the highway while approaching the Chuhuiv military airfield late on September 25.
  • Kharkiv Air Force University's crew and cadets were on board – a total of 27 people.
  • Twenty-five people were killed at the crash site, one of the two survivors died in hospital, the other one is undergoing treatment.
  • According to the SBU Security Service, the captain reported left engine failure to the tower and requested an approach to land.
  • Ukraine's Defense Minister Andriy Taran, citing aviation experts, said one of the sensors in the engine of the An-26 transport military aircraft failed, as a result of which the plane's wing caught on the ground as it was approaching the airfield near Chuhuiv before plunging and setting ablaze.
  • State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents are considering four theories of the An-26 military plane crash in Kharkiv region.
  • A cleanup operation at the An-26 crash site was over on September 27. Rescuers had been searching for the bodies of the victims, cut the elements of the fuselage and provided psychological assistance to the relatives of the victims. Some 70 workers and 10 units of equipment were involved.
  • The An-26 that crashed on September 25 was manufactured in 1977. It had been operated as a training aircraft for the Air Force.