Death toll from Siberian plane crash drops to 6

The death toll from Monday’s plane crash in Russia’s Siberia lowered to six from seven after a man who was believed to have been killed proved to be unharmed, a government official said.

An Antonov An-24 plane with 37 people on board, including one child, ditched in the Ob River on the border between the Tomsk and Khanty-Mansiisk regions early on Monday after a fire broke out in the aircraft’s port engine.

Soon after the accident, seven people were reported killed; however, it was later discovered that one man, who was not listed among the 30 survivors, was taken for a rescue officer as he was helping evacuate those injured, the official said.

The plane was en route from Tomsk to the city of Surgut in the Khanty-Mansiisk Region when it crashed some 14 kilometers (9 miles) from the town of Strezhevoy.

Twenty-one people were hospitalized following the accident. The police are conducting a criminal investigation into the breach of air transport operation and flight safety rules.

First flown half a century ago, hundreds of Soviet-designed Antonov An-24 turboprops are still in service, mostly in African and former Soviet countries.

An-24s have been involved in a series of accidents over the past few years, including several fatal crashes.

Monday’s accident prompted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to instruct the government to consider the possibility of early retirement of all An-24s, the last of which was produced in 1979.

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