News / Europe

    Russia Seeks Clues Over Plane Crash that Killed 50

    Wreckage is seen at the site of a Tatarstan Airlines Boeing 737 crash at Kazan airport, russia, Nov. 18, 2013.
    Wreckage is seen at the site of a Tatarstan Airlines Boeing 737 crash at Kazan airport, russia, Nov. 18, 2013.
    Reuters
    Russian investigators sifted through the charred remains of a Boeing 737-500 airliner on Monday in the search for clues about what caused it to crash and burst into flames, killing all 50 people on board.
     
    Sunday's crash raised new concerns about Russia's poor safety record as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics in the southern city of Sochi in February, an event on which President Vladimir Putin has staked much personal political prestige.
     
    Residents of Kazan wiped away tears as they lay flowers at the airport where the plane crashed in windy weather, with some venting anger over Russia's bad safety record. Flags flew at half mast in the city 800 km (500 miles) east of Moscow.
     
    “The whole town is in mourning,” said Elvira Khadiulina, a nursery-school teacher who came to the airport to mourn friends who died in the crash. “These people were only a few minutes from being safe on the ground.”
     
    The Tatarstan Airlines flight from Moscow had been trying to abort its landing when it nosedived into the runway, killing all 44 passengers and six crew.
     
    “The plane just fell,” Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told reporters. “The plane was vertical, practically vertical.”
     
    But he added the black box flight recorders, which were found on Monday, would need to be analyzed for more information.
     
    Tatarstan Airlines said it was grounding all its Boeing 737 pending the results of the investigation into the crash.
     
    “The main versions are pilot error and technical problems, including equipment failure,” Alexander Poltinin, a senior regional investigator, said of the crash.
     
    He said the plane's fuel tank had exploded on impact and it could take weeks for all the dead to be identified in the wreckage, scattered over a wide area.
     
    “There are mostly just fragments of bodies, few corpses,” local health ministry official Nail Nigmatullin told the Interfax news agency.
     
    The son of the president of the oil-rich province of Tatarstan and the regional head of the FSB intelligence service were named among those killed. The dead also included two foreigners, a Briton and a Ukrainian.
     
    “Just awful"
     
    “It's unimaginable - it's awful, just awful,” said a man who gave his name as Dmitry as he left flowers at the airport gate. “Everyone already knows what state our national aviation is in, so ... this isn't surprising.”
     
    Russia and the other former Soviet republics combined have one of the world's worst air-traffic safety records, with a total accident rate almost three times the world average in 2011, according to the International Air Transport Association.
     
    In Soviet times, flag carrier Aeroflot had a virtual monopoly of the airline industry, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many small private companies emerged.
     
    IATA said last year that global airline safety had improved but accident rates had risen in Russia and the ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States.
     
    The government says it is confident about security and safety matters at the Sochi Olympics and the city's international airport has been upgraded for the Games.
     
    There had been no technical problems reported with the leased 23-year-old plane prior to the flight and regular maintenance between flights had been conducted, officials said.
     
    Boeing said in a statement it was prepared to provide technical assistance to the investigators.
     
    Kazan is the capital of the largely Muslim region of Tatarstan. There was no suggestion of foul play.
     
    A new runway was built at the airport before the World University Games, held in the city in July. Kazan is one of the venues for the soccer World Cup that Russia is hosting in 2018.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora