Plane ‘full of Wagner mercenaries’ erupts into fireball in dramatic footage

A cargo plane reportedly full of Wagner mercenaries erupted into a fireball on a runway in Mali after a dodgy landing.

Shocking video has emerged which shows the moment the Russian-made Ilyushin Il-76 exploded in the West African country seconds after touching down on September 23.

The plane kicks up a cloud of dust before erupting into a huge fireball that consumes the aircraft at the end of the runaway near the city of Gao.

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Pro-Ukrainian sources on social media have claimed that as many as 140 people died in the crash including Malian soldiers and Wagner fighters.

While the reports are unconfirmed, Wagner is known to operate in the country and has used the airport in Gao in the past.

The tail number for the transport plane – EW-412TH – shows that it is owned by the Belarusian cargo company, Rubystar.

Sources close to Wagner, including the Grey Zone Telegram channel, have denied any of the group's mercenaries were on board the doomed flight.

The cause of the crash is reportedly under investigation but it appears the plane landed too far down the 2,500-meter runway before skidding off.

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The fiery crash came one month to the day after late Wagner’s billionaire boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed when his private jet crashed outside Moscow.

The 62-year-old was one of 10 people killed when his Embraer Legacy 600 plane plummeted to the ground on a flight between St Petersburg and Moscow in August.

Prigozhin was said to have been in Africa, another part of the world where Wagner mercenaries are paid to carry out government bidding, in the weeks leading up to his death.

And some reports claimed that he was hailed as a second 'Nelson Mandela' as he posed for photos with locals thought to be from the Central African Republic.

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