The private jet crashed into a village on Wednesday, reportedly holding the Wagner Group founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The Embraer executive jet model that crashed in Russia, possibly with Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin on board, has recorded only one accident in more than 20 years of service, and that was not related to mechanical failure.
Russian authorities said Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on a private jet that crashed on Wednesday evening, killing all those on board. Russia’s TASS news agency said the plane was a Brazilian Embraer jet.
Embraer said it was aware of a plane crash in Russia involving a Legacy 600 aircraft, but it did not have further information about the case and had not been providing support services for the jet since 2019.
“Embraer has complied with international sanctions imposed on Russia,” the company said. Sanctions block Western plane makers from providing parts or support for planes operated in Russia.
Flightradar24 online tracker showed that the aircraft (number RA-02795) dropped off the radar at 6:11 pm local time (15:11 GMT). An unverified video on social media showed a plane resembling a private jet falling out of the sky towards the Earth.
The aircraft, manufactured in 2007, fell under US Treasury sanctions in 2019 when it was listed under a prior registration, M-SAAN, according to a US government press release.
It said, by October 2018, Prigozhin’s employees had arranged for the purchase of the private jet M-SAAN, which was registered under the owner Autolex Transport, a company cited in the release for materially assisting Prigozhin.
The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Prigozhin for attempting to influence the 2018 US elections, the September 30, 2019 release said.
The identification codes of the aircraft, mentioned in OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List, match those of the crashed plane with the tail number RA-02795, as listed in the Russian aircraft registry.
The same plane was spotted flying to Belarus from Russia after the failed mutiny in late June, presumably carrying Prigozhin to Minsk.
The Legacy 600 entered service in 2002, according to International Aviation HQ, with almost 300 produced until production ceased in 2020.
There is only one recorded accident involving a Legacy 600, according to International Aviation HQ, which occurred in 2006 when it crashed midair into a Gol Boeing 737-800 on its way from the Embraer factory in Brazil to the US.
The Boeing commercial airliner was downed and all 154 passengers died. The pilot of the Embraer plane landed without any deaths or injuries on that aircraft.
Two years later, a Brazilian air force report blamed two US pilots, traffic controllers and faulty communications for the midair collision.
At the time, a lawyer for the pilots said individual air traffic controllers and flaws in Brazil’s air traffic control system caused the accident.