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Cargo aircraft crashes in northern Greece

A cargo aircraft Antonov An-12 crashed late Saturday near Paleochori Kavalas in northern Greece, the fire brigade said.

Eye-witnesses said the aircraft was on fire and that they had heard explosions, Athens News Agency reported.

A local man, Giorgos Archontopoulos, told state broadcaster ERT television he had felt something was wrong as soon as he heard the aircraft’s engine.

“At 22.45 I was surprised by the sound of the engine of the aircraft,” he said. “I went outside and saw the engine on fire.”

Local officials said seven fire engines had been deployed to the crash site but that they could not approach because of the ongoing explosions.

According to media reports, the cargo aircraft was travelling from Serbia to Jordan and had requested clearance to make an emergency landing at nearby Kavala airport, but did not manage to reach it.

State-run broadcaster ERT television reported that it was an Ukrainian aircraft, which according to villagers was already in flames before it crashed.

There is no official information about the number of people on board the aircraft, which was still burning according to live footage broadcast on state television.

But ERT reported that the plane was carrying eight people and that its cargo “was dangerous”. Police were asking journalists at the scene to wear masks, the report added.

“You need to go away for your safety. There is an information that the aircraft was carrying ammunition’, one firefighter told reporters at the scene.

“The aircraft crashed around two kilometres (one mile) away from an inhabited area,” Filippos Anastasiadis, mayor of the nearby town of Paggaio, told Open TV.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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