Prigozhin plane crash shares chilling similarity to identical 1986 disaster

Wagner Group issue statement after death of Yevgeny Prigozhin

The private plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin shares chilling similarities to the 1986 Mozambique plane tragedy, both of which have ties to Russia, an aviation expert has claimed.

Dr Alan Diehl, an air safety specialist and US government whistleblower, also predicted the world would “never know the truth” of what caused the flight carrying Prigozhin to plummet.

Prigozhin, a critic of Putin with his own ambitions of guiding Russia, led the Wagner Group in a failed coup as he bid to transform Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

The doomed plot saw Prigozhin, who was formerly a close confidant of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, seek safety in Belarus. He was then spotted on camera just days before his death. Many believe Russia is responsible for the crash, though Moscow has remained silent.

And for Dr Diehl the complexities surrounding the Russian crash are similar to the 1986 plane collision, which saw Mozambique’s then-President Samora Machel killed.

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Speaking to Daily Express US, Dr Diehl, who recalled his experience working on the 1986 plane crash in the 2013 book Air Safety Investigators: Using Science to Save Lives—One Crash at a Time, said that while “everything is still preliminary” the Russian crash carrying Prigozhin “appeared to be damaged while it was at a high altitude”.

This was something that within aviation was “fairly unusual” and that footage “suggests the plane was on fire before plummeting to Earth”.

He compared that crash to the 1986 atrocity, which saw a Tupolev Tu-134 jetliner with a Soviet crew – as well as Mr Machel and 43 others including several ministers and senior officials of the Mozambican government – downed.

Just 10 people survived the crash, and for the years since speculation about what exactly caused the craft to be downed has been poured over.

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Part of the discussion around the incident saw one theory that Putin himself may have had a hand in the crash, as an image supposedly of the Russian dictator standing alongside Mr Machel days before the crash.

Whether the man pictured is actually Putin has been poured over by critics, with the despot stationed in Dresden, East Germany, when the crash happened.

Among those to question Putin’s place in the photograph was Jose Milhazes, a historian and journalist, who said the person in the photograph was another Soviet official who was serving in southern Africa.

He said: “As for the similarities, I can only say that they are pure coincidence.”

But for Dr Diehl, irrespective of whether the man in the photograph is Putin, Russia and the Soviets have a long history of going after people who “change sides” or attempt to cozy up to potential rivals.

He continued: “President Machel had just befriended [then-US President Ronald] Reagan while Prigozhin had recently challenged Putin in a revolt.

“Now he’s also dead in a mysterious plane, crash.

“It might just be a coincidence, but we will probably never know the truth with the Russian government running the investigation.”

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