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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid