At least three Ukrainian nationals died and another has been rescued in critical condition on Wednesday morning as a private-run cargo aircraft crashed into the Bakkhali estuary in the Bay of Bengal near Cox's Bazar Airport on Wednesday morning.
The deceased were identified as pilot, Kulish Andri, 40, crew-captain Murad Jafrob, 45, and co-pilot Iban Pedrob, 40, according to attending physicians at Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital doctor Sultan Ahmed Shiraz.
Seven hours after the accident, a joint team of Bangladesh Navy recovered the bodies of the missing crew-captain Murad Jafrob and co-pilot Iban Pedrob from near the spot around 3:45pm, according to Inter Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR).
Injured Wazi Morout, 47, a Ukrainian national, was referred to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for better treatments as his condition worsened, an on-duty doctor said.
The four victims came to Cox's Bazar from Ukraine on January 8.
Police and aviation authorities told our Cox's Bazar correspondent that the crash site was about half a kilometre off Cox's Bazar's Nazirtek in the estuary of the Bay and river Bakkhali.
The Russian-built aircraft took off from Cox's Bazar Airport around 9:00am, Airport Manager Sadhon Kumar Mohanta and added it was transporting shrimp fry from Cox's Bazar to Jessore. Minutes after take-off, it crashed into the sea.
An eyewitness fisherman said that he did not see any fire. "The plane directly dropped into the sea. We were on shore. We rushed out with our trawler and rescued them."
Mohammad Aslam Hossein, Officer-in-Charge of Cox's Bazar Sadar Model Police Station, said, "Two people were initially rescued from the sea, one of them later died. Two others were missing. There were four people on board the aircraft. They were all Ukrainians."
Bodies of two others were recovered on Wednesday afternoon, said Ahsan Habib, contingent commander of Bangladesh Coast Guard, Cox's Bazar station.
Coast Guard, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, police and Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence carried out rescue operation for hours.
Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Ali Hossain and True Airways Station Manager SM Hasnat Jahan said the crew members of the plane were Ukrainians.
Superintendent of Police Shyamol Kumar Nath said the Jessore-bound cargo plane of True Airways carrying a shrimp consignment took off from the airport at 9:00am. It was asked by the control tower to return a few minutes later as the aircraft sent an emergency signal.