News / Europe

50 Killed in Russia Plane Crash

This handout picture released by Russia's Emergencies Ministry on Nov. 17, 2013, shows the crash site of a Boeing 737 plane at the airport of Kazan, western Tatarstan, Russia.
This handout picture released by Russia's Emergencies Ministry on Nov. 17, 2013, shows the crash site of a Boeing 737 plane at the airport of Kazan, western Tatarstan, Russia.
Reuters
A Boeing 737 airliner crashed on Sunday in the Russian city of Kazan, killing all 50 people on board and spotlighting the poor safety record of regional airlines that ply internal routes across the world's largest nation.
 
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 when the plane exploded in a ball of fire on hitting the runway.
 
Pictures showed charred wreckage scattered over a wide area, apparently taken after firefighters had extinguished the fire. Russian television broadcast a blurred video showing a bright flash of light. It also published a photo of the plane's gaping fuselage with firefighters in the foreground.
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The Tatarstan airlines flight from Moscow had been trying to abort its landing in order to make a second approach when it crashed, killing all 44 passengers and six crew on board, emergency officials said.
 
Flight U363 took off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport at 6:25 pm (1425 GMT) and crashed just over an hour later, emergency officials said. The leased plane was 23 years old.
 
According to local reports, the Boeing lost altitude quickly and its fuel tank exploded on impact.
 
There were high winds and above-zero temperatures over the airport in central Russia. Flights to and from the airport were halted until midday on Monday.
 
Kazan, which is some 800 kilometers east of Moscow, is the capital of the largely-Muslim, oil-rich region of Tatarstan. A new runway was built at the airport ahead of the World Student Games, held in the city earlier this year.
 
Russia will host the Winter Olympics in the southern city of Sochi early next year.
 
The son of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Irek, was among those killed in the crash, as was the head of the regional Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Antonov, according to a passenger list whose authenticity was confirmed by the regional government.

  • People place flowers in Kazan airport, Russia, Nov. 18, 2013.
  • Officials and investigators search a plane crash site in Kazan airport, Russia, Nov. 18, 2013.
  • Fire fighters and rescuers work at the crash site of a Russian passenger airliner near Kazan, Nov. 17, 2013. (Russian Emergency Situations Ministry)
  • Fire fighters and rescuers work at the crash site of a Russian passenger airliner near Kazan, Nov. 17, 2013. (Russian Emergency Situations Ministry)


Poor safety record

Russia and the 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 (IATA).
 
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the disaster “a frightening tragedy,” offering his condolences to the relatives of the victims in a tweet on Sunday.
 
State television showed images of a woman scanning a list of passenger names posted outside the airport and crumbling into tears as she apparently recognized one.
 
Boeing officials had no immediate comment on the circumstances of the crash, but issued a statement.
 
“Boeing's thoughts are with those affected by the crash of the Tatarstan aircompany flight. Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the investigating authority as it investigates the accident.”
 
Sprawling country
 
Russia spans nine time zones, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific across large areas of largely uninhabited land, making efficient air and train links especially important to the country's economy.
 
In Soviet times, flag carrier Aeroflot had a virtual monopoly of the airline industry, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a multitude of small private companies emerged.
 
A spokesman for state aviation oversight agency Rosaviatsia said authorities would search for the flight recorders.
 
“The plane touched the ground and burst into flame,” Sergei Izvolsky said. “The cause of the crash as of now is unknown.”
 
The plane had been forced to make an emergency landing a year earlier on November 26 due to problems with “cabin depressurization” shortly after take-off, a law enforcement source told Interfax news agency. No one was hurt.
 
Past disasters

IATA said last year that global airline safety had improved but that accident rates had risen in Russia and the ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States.
 
In April 2012, at least 31 people were killed when a Russian passenger plane crashed after take-off in Siberia.
 
In September 2011, a Yak-42 passenger jet carrying members of a major league ice hockey team came down shortly after takeoff and burst into flames near the Russian city of Yaroslavl, killing 44 people.

In the Russian city of Perm in 2008, a Boeing 737 exploded a kilometer above the ground, killing 88 people.

The Boeing 737 is the world's most popular passenger jet in commercial use today. There have been 170 crashes involving this model of aircraft since it came into use.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
November 18, 2013 2:27 PM
Why do we need to wait for flight recorders to get an idea of what happened when the crew was in live communications with the control tower. If there was a problem with the landing gear, as the journalist Lenara Kashafutdinova had noticed, then why not say so.
PR has its place, but not on matters of public safety.
And who in the devil cleared the plane to fly on the face of reports -- the same day -- of a serious malfunction: "[Landing] in Moscow the weather was fine ... We were blown in different directions, the plane was tossed around. The man sitting next to me was white as a sheet."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid