Investigations continue to find the causes of the crash of the Antonov cargo plane on Saturday evening near the northern Greek town of Kavala, while a team of American experts arrived in the area to join the investigation into the cause of the accident and the identity of the cargo.
Earlier, members of the General Staff’s Special Interdisciplinary Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Company had arrived to investigate and verify the origin of a white substance found near the debris.
According to a spokesperson for the fire brigade, “no dangerous substance was detected in the area where the Antonov plane crashed on Saturday July 16 following the measurements taken”.
The accompanying cargo documents indicated that the Antonov was carrying 11.5 tons of ammunition, namely M62 60mm mortar training shells, M62 82mm mortar training shells and 82mm M67 Mortar Illumination.
According to diplomatic sources of the Greek Foreign Ministry, on the Minister’s instructions, steps were taken regarding the need for the Greek side to be informed in advance of the nature of the aircraft’s cargo, at the both to the Serbian Foreign Ministry by the Greek Ambassador in Belgrade and to the Ukrainian Ambassador in Athens.
However, the identity of the cargo plane raises questions, as the Ukrainian-owned plane, chartered by an American company that loads munitions from Serbia for transport to Bangladesh, did not strictly adhere to protocols and security measures.
The crash has also provoked a reaction from opposition parties in Greece, which are demanding immediate information from the government.
The opposition party SYRIZA, in a statement, asked: “What was the real cargo and the ‘hazardous materials?’ Why was there no information about the cargo of the Ukrainian Antonov? What was the real origin and what was the real final destination of the cargo? while adding that “clear answers are expected immediately. It is unthinkable that Greece takes a risk by sending arms to Ukraine and that they risk ending up on the black market with those of other countries.
The Antonov 12 transport plane took off from Nis on Saturday around 8:40 p.m. (Serbian time) carrying 11.5 tons of ammunition and crashed around 11:00 p.m. (Greek time) near Eleftheroupoli airport. All eight crew members of Ukrainian origin were killed.
(Spiros Sideris | EURACTIV.gr)