Plane Crash in Russia’s Far East Injures 15
The accident involving an Antonov An-24 aircraft happened about 200 meters (656 feet) from the runway at Ignatyevo Airport near Blagoveshchensk, a city in Amur Oblast. Flight 103 was en-route from Kadala Airport near Chita, in Zabaykalsky Krai, when it was attempting to land at the airport.
A spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development said 15 people suffered injuries as a result of the crash, but only seven people required hospitalization for treatment. Among those hospitalized is a woman and a child.
A total of 36 people were on board the aircraft, which is owned by the small domestic airline IrAero. The Ministry said nine rescue teams responded to the aircraft crash, including a specialized medical team.
It was not immediately clear what had caused the accident, but officials said there was reduced visibility at the time of the crash and heavy rainfall which prevented fuel from catching fire. “Only a miracle saved the passengers of the jet and prevented fatalities,” one witness told a local news agency.
Russia has seen a number of major aviation accidents over the last few years, in part because of its use of old aircraft. Last month, seven people were killed when an Antonov An-24 crashed into the Ob River, about 63 kilometers (39 miles) from Nizhnevartovsk, a city in Russia’s Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug.
And a total of 47 people were killed on June 20 when a RusLine Tupolev Tu-134 plane crashed during landing near Petrozavodsk, the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, which is one of Russia’s federal subjects. Only five people survived the accident.
Most notably, Polish President Lech Kaczynski was among 96 people killed on April 10, 2010, when his Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft crashed near the city of Smolensk in Russia. He was visiting Smolensk for the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war in the village of Katyn.