A BANAT AIR Transport flight, operated by Romavia-owned Antonov An-24, crashed shortly after take-off from Verona, Italy, bound for Timisoara and Bucharest, Romania.

All eight crew and 41 passengers died when the Romanian flight, having taken off in darkness on 13 December at about 19:00 local time in light snow and strong winds, started losing height at about 500ft (150m) early in the climb. The aircraft crashed on open ground just outside the Verona Vallafranca Airport's boundary. A Banat Air employee reported having seen an engine on fire, but this was not confirmed by any other source.

The flight was a thrice-weekly charter service from Verona via Banat's base at Timisoara, western Romania, to Bucharest.

An Air St Martin Beech 1900D crashed in Haiti, killing both pilots and all 18 passengers. The aircraft (F-OHRK) was carrying illegal Haitian immigrants from Cayenne, French Guiana, via Guadeloupe to Haiti when it crashed some 30km (16nm) south of Haiti's capital, Port au Prince.

The Khabarovsk Air Tupolev Tu-154 (RA-85164) which went missing on 7 December (Flight International, 13-19 December), wrongly reported last week as being operated by Aeroflot Russian International Airlines, had still not been found after eight days of intensive land and sea search.

The aircraft is believed to have crashed in a mountainous region on the mainland. The scheduled flight, en route from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on the far-eastern Russian island of Sakhalin, to Novosibirsk via Khabarovsk and Ulan-Ude, disappeared from military surveillance radar screens with no emergency call or indications of problems.

Source: Flight International