November 17, 2013

Boeing plane crashes in Russia, killing all 50 people aboard

The plane crashed while landing in Kazan.

The Associated Press

MOSCOW — A Boeing 737 jetliner crashed and burst into flames Sunday night while trying to land at the airport in the Russian city of Kazan, killing all 50 people aboard in the latest in a string of deadly crashes across the country.

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A woman reads a list with the names of passengers who were aboard an airliner that crashed in Kazan on Sunday.

The Associated Press

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The Tatarstan Airlines plane was trying to make a second landing attempt when it touched the surface of the runway near the control tower, and was “destroyed and caught fire,” said Sergei Izvolky, the spokesman for the Russian aviation agency.

The Emergencies Ministry said there were 44 passengers and six crew members aboard the evening flight from Moscow and all had been killed. Kazan, a city of about 1.1 million and the capital of the Tatarstan republic, is about 450 miles east of the capital.

The ministry released a list of the dead, which included Irek Minnikhanov, the son of Tatarstan’s governor, and Alexander Antonov, who headed the Tatarstan branch of the Federal Security Service, the main successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB.

Some Russian air crashes have been blamed on the use of aging aircraft, but industry experts point to a number of other problems, including poor crew training, crumbling airports, lax government controls and widespread neglect of safety in the pursuit of profits.

The Emergencies Ministry released photographs from the nighttime scene showing parts of the aircraft and debris scattered across the ground. Ambulances lined up in front of the airport building.

It was not clear why the plane’s first landing attempt was unsuccessful. Boeing said it would provide assistance to the investigation into the cause.

“Boeing’s thoughts are with those affected by the crash,” the company said in a statement on its website.

A journalist who said she had flown on the same aircraft from Kazan to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport earlier in the day told Channel One state television that the landing in Moscow had been frightening because of a strong vibration during the final minutes of the flight. She said it wasn’t clear if there was a strong wind or some kind of technical trouble. “The plane was tossed around,” she said.

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