Fateful year for Russian aviation. At least 16 people died this Sunday when a plane crashed from a skydiving school near the city of Menzelinsk, in the Republic of Tatarstan. It is the fifth plane crash recorded this year in the country with fatalities, and the third involving a twin-engine L-410 Turbolet.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft after nine in the morning. According to hours later the president of Tatarstan, Rustam Minijánov, one of the plane’s engines failed and the pilots requested an emergency landing. After descending to about 70 meters, they began a turn to avoid passing over a town, but the plane at that moment crashed into a wooded area. The two pilots and 14 of the 20 passengers on board died, most of them paratroopers.
The crashed apparatus had been part of the Ministry of Defense before being acquired by the jumping club. “The plane has been operating since 1987. It was previously in the service of the Air Force of the Soviet Union. Then it was stored and became part of the Voluntary Society for Aid to the Army, Aviation and the Navy ”, explained sources of the investigation to the TASS agency.
The L-410, whose original Soviet design dates back to the 1960s, is widely used in Russia for its ability to operate on short runways and in extreme temperatures. The tragedy of this Sunday is almost a copy of the one lived on June 19, when in the Siberian region of Kemerovo another L-410 crashed with paratroopers on board due to an engine failure. That event resulted in seven fatalities. The aircraft had begun takeoff when the right thruster stopped at about 20 meters above sea level. Despite attempts to gain momentum with the other engine, the pilots had to make an emergency landing that proved fatal.
A few months later, on September 12, four more people were killed when another L-410 crashed in the vicinity of an airport in Kazachinskoye, in the Irkutsk region. That plane hit a hill in low visibility conditions. The investigation, which initially considered a technical failure, now points to an error by the crew.
And of all the tragedies experienced this year, the greatest occurred on July 6, when an An-26 crashed to the ground in Palana, in the remote region of Kamchatka. All 28 people on board died in the event. In addition, this same model from the manufacturer Antonov registered another fatal accident on September 22, when another flight fell to the ground during a calibration of the short-distance navigation systems at Khabarovsk airport. Six other people lost their lives in that incident.
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The Emergency Ministry teams traveled to the scene of the event this Sunday. As explained by the agency, medical personnel and firefighters managed to remove seven survivors from the wreckage of the fuselage.
Two of the victims were going to celebrate their respective birthdays with the parachute jump. “I was late for registration. My brother filled out the form and they registered him for the flight right away, ”Mash Alexandr Tsyvinski told the channel, who did not get on the plane due to a work call. His brother, Konstantín, did go upstairs and died in the accident. He had turned 18 on October 4 and went to the airport accompanied by his brother and parents.
Another of the deceased was Ilnar Gaifullin, who received as a gift a certificate to jump with a parachute. His wife accompanied him to the airfield to support him, and this was going to be the first time he had jumped from the heights.