Aviation News

September 12, 2012

Plane Crash in Russia’s Far East Kills 10

Crash site near Palana on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. (Map by Google/NYCAviation)

A small regional airliner crashed as it was preparing to land at an airport in northeastern Russia on early Wednesday afternoon, killing ten people and injuring four others, emergency officials said. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

The accident happened at around 12:28 p.m. local time on Wednesday when air traffic control lost contact with a twin-engine Antonov An-28 (RA-28715) aircraft near Palana, a town on the west coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East. The aircraft was carrying a total of 14 people, including 2 crew members.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said the wreckage of the plane was found about 6 miles (10 km) from the town. “As a result of the disaster, ten people were killed, including two crew members and one child,” a spokesperson for Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said, adding that four people sustained moderate to serious injuries.

The small passenger plane belonged to regional airline Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Air Enterprise, which has a small fleet and provides passenger services in the region. Authorities said the aircraft was flying from the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and was due to land at an airport in Palana.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had launched a criminal investigation, as is standard procedure in aviation accidents, and said it is looking at a technical failure, weather and crew actions as possible causes for the crash.

“Investigations aimed at establishing the circumstances of the incident are being conducted and include the seizure of fuel samples and records of conversations between the An-28 crew and air traffic control,” a spokesperson for Russia’s Investigative Committee said, giving no other details.

Russia has seen a number of major aviation accidents over the last few years, in part because of its use of old aircraft, although industry experts also point to other problems such as poor crew training, out-of-date airports, lax government controls, and neglect of safety to maximize profits.

In early April, a passenger plane operated by UTair Aviation crashed shortly after takeoff from an airport in Siberia, killing 32 people and injuring 11 survivors. It followed the crash of a Yak-Service Airlines plane in Yaroslavl Oblast in September 2011, killing all but one of the 37 passengers and 8 crew members on board. Among those killed were players and coaching staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team.

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