In a dramatic turn of events, a Russian private jet carrying six people crashed in a remote area of rural Afghanistan, near the Aruz Koh mountain in the Kuf Ab district of Badakhshan province. The Taliban’s Transportation and Civil Aviation Ministry confirmed the incident, revealing that the pilot and some passengers miraculously survived the crash.
The crash occurred in the mountainous region of Badakhshan province, approximately 250 kilometers northeast of Kabul. Despite the challenging terrain, a rescue team was swiftly dispatched to the area.
The Taliban’s statement online highlighted that the pilot had been found by the search team of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and according to the pilot, four individuals, including himself, are alive. The search and assistance operations for the remaining survivors are ongoing.
The Russian civil aviation authorities in Moscow reported that a Dassault Falcon 10 went missing with four crew members and two passengers. The aircraft, registered in Russia, had ceased communication and disappeared from radar screens.
The flight originated from Thailand’s U-Tapao’Rayong’ Pattaya International Airport and was operating as a charter ambulance flight from Gaya, India, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and finally to Zhukovsky International Airport in Moscow.
Russian officials disclosed that the aircraft, built in 1978, belongs to Athletic Group LLC and a private individual. The investigation into potential air safety rule violations or negligence has led to the opening of a criminal case by Russia’s Investigative Committee.
Amid conflicting reports on the ownership of the plane, the Taliban’s Information and Culture Ministry spokesman, Abdul Wahid Rayan, referred to the aircraft as “belonging to a Moroccan company.” Indian civil aviation officials also described it as Moroccan-registered, associated with a medical evacuation company based in Morocco. However, a contact associated with the company stated that it is no longer operational, and the aircraft now belongs to another entity.
The Taliban attributed the crash to an “engine problem,” providing initial insight into the incident. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, mentioned that Afghan air force rescue teams were actively engaged in searching the crash site.
The international aviation community has been cautious about operating in Afghan airspace since the Taliban’s takeover in 2021. The last fatal plane crash in Afghanistan occurred in 2020, involving a U.S. Air Force Bombardier E-11A in Ghazni province.
As nations slowly ease restrictions, concerns about flying through the country persist, stemming from fears of anti-aircraft fire and the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine.
Despite the challenges, the survival of the pilot and passengers in this recent incident stands as a testament to the resilience and expertise of those involved in the search and rescue operations. As the investigation unfolds, the aviation world closely watches the developments surrounding this remarkable story of survival in the Afghan mountains.