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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs