An-148 air crash not far from Moscow: the main things about the tragedy, in which 71 people died

On February 11, the An-148 passenger airliner belonged to Russia’s Saratov Airlines, took off to fly en route Moscow – Orsk and crashed. The plane departed from the Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport at 02:24 pm local time, and after a few minutes it stopped contacting and disappeared from the radar. “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper provided with the following details of what happened.

Air crash

The wreckage of the plane was found in the Ramensky district near Moscow, as it fell in a field near the Stepanovskoe settlement. Eyewitnesses say that at the time of the tragedy they heard a loud explosion and several claps. Some people say they saw the plane catch fire in the air.

Now more than 20 teams of rescuers are working on the site, searches will go round the clock.

There were 65 passengers, including three children, and six crew members on board the aircraft. All of them died. According to the Russia’s Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov, the identity of the dead will be established with the help of genetic expertise.

Versions

Immediately after the crash of this aircraft, the Investigative Committee instituted criminal proceedings under the article “Violation of Safety Rules for the Movement and Operation of Air Transport” (Part 3, Article no. 263 of the Criminal Code of Russia). Investigators are considering several versions, namely adverse weather conditions, the human factor and technical malfunctions, but none of them is yet considered a priority.

Immediately after the crash, a version appeared in the media that the plane could have collided with a helicopter of the “Post of Russia” at take-off, as eyewitnesses found a lot of envelopes with letters near the crash site. However, this version was not confirmed: experts did not find the wreck of another aircraft at the crash site, and the “Post of Russia” said that the company does not have its own helicopters. In the plane, they just transported a bag with mails weighing about 20 kilos.

In turn, “Gazeta.ru” claims that shortly before the tragedy, the An-148 pilot informed the dispatchers about the malfunction and requested permission to make an emergency landing at the Zhukovsky airport. However, Zhukovsky refute this information, noting that no any requests for an emergency landing from An-148 at Zhukovsky have been sent. The Investigative Committee also confirms that there have been no reports of aircraft failure from the crew.

Finally, the sources of the RNS Agency claim that the plane was not treated with an antifreeze liquid before the flight. According to the speakers of the agency, this decision was made by the captain of the aircraft. There has been no any confirmation of this yet.

“As a rule, when there are rain or snowfalls, the aircraft is being processed. But there were cases when this rule was violated. For example, a few years ago, when ATR-72 crashed in Russia’s Tyumen. Or when Yak-40 crashed. All these planes crashed on takeoff. Usually, if the liquid is not processed, then the aircraft immediately, already at take-off, falls. It breaks away from the ground, and, as it does not have aerodynamics, so it immediately falls to the wing and crashes. But in this case, the aircraft gained altitude and it was flying, that is, it did not look like icing. My colleagues and friends called me and they went in for landing at Domodedovo after the plane fell. They say that before the crash of the plane there was no icing in this area. It was snowing, but the snow was not wet, but dry. I think that the icing of the aircraft can be ruled out.”

Aircraft

Saratov Airlines purchased this An-148 in 2017. Prior to this, in 2010, it was operated by the Rossiya Airlines, Russia. According to Moskovsky Komsomolets edition,  the technical condition of the aircraft previously had claims: for example, in November of last year, experts found that the airplane was irregularly changed in gearboxes and washed with air starter filters. Now employees of the Investigative Committee withdraw documentation in the Saratov Airlines office.

The airport in Orsk has deployed an operational headquarters under the leadership of the Governor of the Russia’s Orenburg Region Yuri Berg. The relatives of those killed in the plane crash gathered. People carry flowers to the airport.

After the tragedy, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the creation of a commission to eliminate the consequences of the crash, led by Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov. It has already been decided that the families of the deceased will be compensated in the amount of RUR 2 million each.

Source – https://news.tj/

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