Reports are emerging of a plane crash involving Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, who has been challenging Vladimir Putin amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict. According to reports, on Wednesday, a plane traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg, which was near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver region, crashed, carrying Prigozhin and 10 others. Claims are being made of all onboard losing their lives. However, it remains unclear what caused the plane to crash after approximately half of the journey.
Flight Tracking Data Websites’ Claims
It has been revealed that Prigozhin was aboard a private jet, an Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet. According to flight tracking data website FlightRadar24, during its 30-minute flight, there were no reported anomalies or irregularities with the aircraft’s performance.
However, around 3:19 PM, the aircraft suddenly started descending. In just 30 seconds, the plane, which was flying at an altitude of 28,000 feet, dropped to 8,000 feet. According to Ian Petchenik of FlightRadar24, whatever happened in those 30 seconds, it happened very quickly, possibly indicating some struggle within the aircraft. Nevertheless, no signs of any issues with the plane were evident before the crash.
Company Responsible for Aircraft Production Neglected Service
The Brazilian company Embraer SA, which manufactures the aircraft, issued a statement saying that they had suspended any services related to the 13-seater aircraft and were adhering to the international sanctions against Russia. FlightRadar24 identified the aircraft’s registration number as RA-02795. Reports suggest that when Prigozhin had defied Putin, he was transported to Belarus using the same luxury jet.
According to flight tracking data, the last accurate location of the aircraft was recorded at 3:11 PM, just before the crash. However, due to signal jamming or network interference, more data could not be obtained. Additional data was collected over the next nine minutes, during which the plane’s altitude fluctuated multiple times. The final data from the aircraft was received by FlightRadar24 at 3:20 PM.