Russian aviation authorities confirmed that the leader of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was indeed on the plane that crashed Wednesday en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
According to a TASS report, Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency reported that the passenger list of the Embraer plane did indeed include both the first and last name of the founder of the Russian mercenary group.
"An investigation into the Embraer plane crash that occurred in the Tver Region this evening has been launched," the agency also reported.
Ten bodies recovered
State media also revealed that the bodies of the ten people on board the aircraft have already been recovered, implying that Prigozhin's death is confirmed.
It should be noted that, according to the aviation authority, the aircraft was also carrying Wagner's commander-in-chief, Dmitry Utkin, in addition to five other passengers and three crew members.
The passengers were identified as Valeriy Chekalov, Evgeniy Makaryan, Sergey Propustin, Aleksandr Totmin and Nikolay Matuseev, all members of Wagner. The crew members were commander Aleksei Levshin, co-pilot Rustam Karimov and flight attendant Kristina Raspopova.
The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency has announced that an Investigation has been launched to determine the “Cause” of the Aircraft Crash in the Tver Region which Killed all 10 Passengers onboard including Yevgeny Prigozhin. pic.twitter.com/1kguZWO4lr
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) August 23, 2023
The plane showed no signs of trouble
A Reuters report indicates that, according to flight tracking data, the plane that crashed did not appear to have any problems until it began a steep descent in its last 30 seconds.
Tributes to Prigozhin
After the confirmation of the death of the leader of the Wagner group, several people gathered Wednesday night in St. Petersburg to pay tribute to Prigozhin. People have placed flowers and lit candles outside the former PMC Wagner Center.
Investigations opened into plane crash that reportedly killed the head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group along with nine othershttps://t.co/fCuevhs19I
📸 People pay tribute to Yevgeny Prigozhin at a makeshift memorial outside the "PMC Wagner Centre" in Saint Petersburg pic.twitter.com/QBqToReFBg
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 24, 2023