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Russia. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plane crashes. Witness: “There was only a bang. I looked up and saw white smoke”

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The plane that was supposed to fly the head of the Russian Wagner Group mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin fell with one wing. A strong explosion was heard earlier, Vitaly Stepienok, a resident of the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver region, told Reuters. The plane, flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg, crashed near this town.

Vitaly Stepienok, 72, said he first heard a loud bang and was scared that the plane would crash into houses in his village. Kuzhenkino is about halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. “Usually, if there’s an explosion on the ground, you hear an echo, but here it was just a bang. I looked up and saw white smoke,” the man said.

READ ALSO: Russian office: Yevgeny Prigozhin is dead, he was on a plane that crashed north of Moscow

The man described that the plane’s wing flew off to the side, and the machine fell on one wing, not diving, but sliding down. Stepienok got on his bike and was there in about 20 minutes.

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– Everything was on fire, people were walking around. They were pulling someone out, human remains, the witness said.

The site of the Prigozhin plane crash in the Tver region ANATOLY MALTSEV/PAP/EPA

The site of the Prigozhin plane crash in the Tver region ANATOLY MALTSEV/PAP/EPA

A resident of the village of Kuzhenkino, interviewed by journalists from the propaganda agency RIA Novosti, reported that she first saw her jittery neighbor running. “When she and I approached the place where the plane went down, all we could see was a column of smoke,” the woman said.

RIA Novosti reported that one of the plane fragments was found two kilometers away.

The crash site of the Embraer, which was supposed to fly Yevgeny PrigozhinGoogle Maps

The causes of the disaster are being investigated

The independent Russian-language portal Meduza wrote on Thursday that the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin as a result of Wednesday’s plane crash in the Tver region has not yet been officially confirmed, and the Investigative Committee Russia does not believe that it occurred as a result of a terrorist attack.

On Wednesday evening, the Russian air transport agency Rosaviatia confirmed that Prigozhin and his “right-hand man” Dmitry Utkin, alias Wagner, were on board the private plane that crashed that day in the Tver region in western Russia. The causes of the disaster are being investigated. There were speculations about the plane being shot down by Russian anti-aircraft defenses or an explosion on board.

PAP, RIA Novosti, meduza.io

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

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