Scores killed after Soviet-era airliner crashes in thick fog

 

Moscow

Eight survivors of a Russian plane crash that killed 44 people were in a critical condition yesterday, as the country came to terms with another tragedy involving an ageing Soviet Tupelov aircraft.

The 31-year-old Tupolev 134 was coming in to land in thick fog at the small airport outside the city of Petrozavodsk a few minutes before midnight on Monday. The aircraft crash-landed on a nearby road, careered into woodland and caught fire as the fuselage broke into pieces.

Of the 44 people killed, four had dual US and Russian citizenship, while there were four other foreigners on board. The rest of the victims were Russian, including a football referee who officiated at games in the country's premier league. The eight survivors were dragged from the burning wreckage by locals who scrambled to the scene.

Among those who made it out alive were a mother and her two children and one of the aircraft's nine crew. Four survivors were flown to Moscow for treatment yesterday, while the others remained in local hospitals.

The plane belonged to RusAir, a small Russian carrier that flies internal routes. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, dozens of small airlines sprang up in Russia, many of which only have a handful of planes. Poor safety checks, difficult weather conditions and ageing planes lead to frequent accidents. Airlines are gradually augmenting their fleets with Boeings and Airbuses, and a new medium-range Russian airliner has been designed by the Russian firm Sukhoi. The national carrier Aeroflot removed all Tupolevs from its fleet in 2009, but the smaller companies still fly them.

The aircraft has been involved in 20 fatal crashes since 1971. In April last year a Tupolev 154 carrying the Polish president and other senior officials came down in thick fog near the Russian city of Smolensk, killing everyone on board.

It is unclear if the pilot attempted to land the aircraft on the road or simply missed the runway. Air safety officials said there was no sign of fire or explosion aboard the aircraft prior to the crash

The crash "could have been caused by pilot error," said Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who was in France along with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials to promote Russian aviation companies at the Paris Air Show. The black box data recorders have been found at the scene.

Mr Putin, and President Dmitry Medvedev, expressed their condolences, and said compensation of 1 million roubles (£22,000) per passenger would be paid.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Floyd Mayweather will relinquish his five world titles after beating Manny Pacquiao
boxing
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living