At least 16 people have been killed and six injured after a plane crashed in Russia’s Tatarstan region, the RIA news agency cited the emergency services as saying.
The aircraft, which came down near the city of Menzelinsky, had been carrying 20 parachutists and two crew members. Six people were in a serious condition, the Health Ministry said. The crash took place at about 9:23am (06:23 GMT).
The plane was a Let L-410 Turbolet, which is a twin-engine short-range transport aircraft. The plane was owned by an aeroclub in the city of Menzelinsk, the TASS news agency reported.
Cosmonauts use the area for training and the aeroclub has hosted local, European and world championships, the club’s director Ravil Nurmukhametov was quoted by TASS as saying.
The state-run Cosmonaut Training Facility has suspended its ties with the aeroclub pending an investigation, TASS cited a source as saying.
The RIA agency cited local authorities as saying one of the engines could have failed.
Images published by the ministry showed the aircraft broken in half with a severely dented nose.
Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years but accidents, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions, are not uncommon.
Last month, an ageing Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed in the Russian far east, killing six people.
All 28 people on board an Antonov An-26 twin-engine turboprop died in a crash in Kamchatka in July.
The country also frequently experiences non-fatal air incidents that result in rerouted flights and emergency landings, usually stemming from technical issues.
Flying in Russia can be particularly dangerous in the vast country’s isolated regions, such as the Arctic and the Far East, where weather conditions are frequently extreme.