Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin killed in plane crash in Russia, authorities say
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Featured Image Credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images / Wagner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has been killed after his plane went down in Russia, authorities have said.
Prigozhin was named on the passenger list for the business jet, which carried seven passengers and three crew members as it traveled from Moscow to St Petersburg, according to Russia's civil aviation authority.
Less than 30 minutes after the plane took off, it is said to have crashed in the Tver region.
In a post on its Telegram account, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Services wrote (translated): “In the Tver region, near the village of Kuzhenkino, a private Embraer Legacy aircraft crashed while flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg. There were 10 people on board, including 3 crew members.
“According to preliminary information, all on board were killed. EMERCOM of Russia is conducting search operations."
Russia's Federal Agency for Air Transport added: "An investigation has been launched into the Embraer plane crash that occurred tonight in the Tver region. According to the passenger list, among them is the name and surname of Yevgeny Prigozhin."
The Telegram channel Grey Zone has claimed that the aircraft was shot down by air defences in the Tver region, which is north of Moscow.
Grey Zone said local residents heard two bangs before the crash, as well as vapor trails.
According to a report by Tass news agency, the plane caught on fire before hitting the ground less than half an hour after it took off to begin its journey.
There were said to be no survivors of the crash. Four bodies are reported to have been found so far.
The group marched towards Moscow in a show of rebellion, prompting Putin to label the boss a 'traitor'.
The coup ended up being short-lived due to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who brokered a deal in which Prigozhin agreed to relocate to Belarus.
Prigozhin was last seen in a video on Monday (21 August), which appeared to have been shot in Africa, and saw him talk about making the continent 'free'.
Sharing his thoughts on the plane crash, military analyst Sean Bell told Sky News: "After that abortive coup, I don't think any of us expected Prigozhin's life expectancy to be more than I think we predicted three months. It looks like it's two months."