Deadly Russian and Philippine Plane Crashes, No Survivor
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|There were 22 passengers and six crew on board the Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop, which had been in operation since 1982 [File: Russia's Emergencies Ministry/Handout via Reuters]|
None of the 28 people on board a Russian An-26 plane have survived its crash on July 6 in the country's far east, Russian news agencies cited rescue officials as saying.
The Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop was en route from the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana, a village in the north of the Kamchatka peninsula, when it lost contact with air traffic control, the emergencies ministry said.
Russia's civil aviation authority confirmed that the plane's crash site had been found after the emergencies ministry dispatched a helicopter and had deployed teams on the ground to look for the missing aircraft, according to Reuters.
There were 22 passengers and six crew on board, the ministry said. Olga Mokhireva, the mayor of Palana, was among the passengers, the TASS agency quoted local authorities as saying.
Investigation under way
|A group of rescuers involved in the search for the An-26 plane on board a Mi-8 helicopter, in Kamchatka [Emercom Of Russia Press Service Handout via EPA-EFE]|
The Kamchatka transportation prosecutor’s office told Al Jazeera an investigation into the cause of the crash was underway.
Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that the plane was thought to have hit a cliff as it was preparing to land in poor visibility conditions, citing local sources.
The plane was in fog and clouds on approach to Palana airport when it missed a scheduled communication and disappeared from radar, the AP reported, citing officials from the Kamchatka region.
Russia’s state aviation agency, Rosaviatsiya, said that parts of the plane were found about five kilometres (three miles) from the airport’s runway.
Part of the fuselage – the aeroplane’s main body – was found on the side of a mountain, Russia’s Pacific Fleet told local news agencies. Another part was located floating in the Okhotsk Sea.
Sergei Gorb, deputy director of Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise, said the aircraft had “practically crashed into a sea cliff,” which was not supposed to be in its landing trajectory.
‘Too early to say what happened’
|The Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop was en route from the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana, a village in the north of the Kamchatka peninsula, when it lost contact with air traffic control. Photo: Al Jazeera|
However, experts urged against drawing conclusions before the debris was fully examined.
“It’s too early to say what happened,” aviation security analyst Vitali Shelkovnikov told Al Jazeera.
He added the An-26 model, which has for decades been the most reliable mode of transportation in the remote and sparsely populated region, was typically a reliable aircraft.
Some 320,000 people live on the New Zealand-sized peninsula – where “bears outnumber people”, according to a local saying – and an adjacent archipelago.
“It’s a good machine. [The] Antonov [aircraft designer bureau] never made bad machines,” said Shelkovnikov, who heads the Moscow-based Flight Safety consulting agency.
The director of Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise, Alexei Khabarov, told Interfax that the plane was technically sound before taking off.
|A file photo of an Antonov An-26 twin-engined turboprop, with the same RA-26085 tail number as the missing plane, at an airport outside Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, in November 2020. Photo: CNN|
Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years but deadly accidents, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions, are not uncommon.
Russia also frequently experiences non-fatal air incidents that result in re-routed flights and emergency landings, usually stemming from technical issues.
The Soviet-era Antonov model, which is still used for military and civilian flights in some countries, has been involved in dozens of deadly crashes since it entered service around 50 years ago.
In 2012, an Antonov An-28 plane belonging to the Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise crashed into a mountain while flying the same route as June 6’s flight, killing 10 people.
Investigators said both pilots were drunk at the time of the crash.
Flying in Russia can be particularly dangerous in the vast country’s isolated regions, such as the Arctic and the Far East, where weather conditions are frequently extreme.
Black box recovered from crash site of Philippines military plane
|he C-130 crashed while attempting to land during the weekend. Authorities have recovered a black box from the scene [Joint Task Force-Sulu via AFP]|
Meanwhile, Philippine authorities have retrieved a black box from an Air Force plane that crashed during the weekend, killing more than 50 people, Military Chief Cirilito Sobejana told Reuters news agency on July 6.
The pilot in command, who had several years of experience flying a C-130 aircraft, was among those who died in the crash on Jolo Island, Sobejana said by telephone.
The military chief said a black box was retrieved on July 5 and should enable investigators to listen to the conversations of the pilots and crew before the plane crashed.
“I spoke to the survivors and they said the plane bounced two to three times and zig-zagged. The pilot tried to regain power because he wanted to lift the plane but it was too late. The right wing hit a tree,” he said.
Sobejana said no one jumped from the aircraft before it crashed. There had been earlier accounts from witnesses that some passengers had tried to leap to safety before the aircraft struck the ground.
He said the front of the aircraft was sliced open and some of the soldiers took advantage of the opening to escape. But those who were unconscious were unable to get out and the plane burst into flames.
The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft was carrying troops bound for counterinsurgency operations in the southern Philippines when it crashed with 96 people on board.
The death toll rose on July 5 to 52, including three civilians on the ground, after two of the 49 soldiers hurt in the crash succumbed to their injuries, the defence ministry said.
Military spokesman Edgard Arevalo said the plane was in “very good condition” and had 11,000 flying hours remaining before its next maintenance was due./.
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