“It was like a video game”: this is how Vyachersalv Zolochevskyi, just 20 years old, tells his experience aboard the Ukrainian military plane that crashed this Friday in Chuhuiv, Ukraine. The young cadet was the only survivor of the crash of the Antonov An-26, which was carrying an additional 20 soldiers in training and seven crew members.
Apparently, and according to preliminary investigation, “a failure in one of the aircraft’s engines” caused a fire. The burning plane crashed shortly afterwards, with a violent explosion.
Zolochevskyi jumped out of the plane while it was still in the air and managed to save himself. After the explosion, he found a friend and comrade in the army to be consumed by the flames and even saved him, removing him from the wreckage. However, the rescued person would soon die with the emergency services in place and would become the 25th deadly victim of the tragedy, which killed a total of 26 people. On the aircraft followed 28 people, it remains to find one of the cadets who was on board and whose body has not yet been found.
According to doctors, the surviving cadet is in “stable” condition and recovering, despite having been unconscious for some time.
The young man’s mother confesses to the local press that she was in a panic and feared the worst when she received news of the military plane crash. “When I heard about the catastrophe and read that it was a training flight for cadets, I didn’t know what to do, I panicked. I was afraid that my son was dead,” he says.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky decreed national mourning this Saturday in memory of the victims. The Interior Minister explained that, according to the information already collected “it is impossible to pinpoint the exact cause that caused the engine failure and the plane crash”.