Thursday, February 14, 2013

News: Russian Plane crashes in Ukraine carrying Champions league fans

On February 13th, 2013, a Ukrainian South Airlines Antonov An-24 plane commencing chartered flight YG 8971 crash-landed in Donetsk, Ukraine leading to five confirmed casualties.

After an Ukrainian internal flight from Odessa to Donetsk the plane overshot the runway as it attempted an emergency landing at Donetsk International Airport.As of 13 February 2013 five passengers were confirmed dead, while the fate of one passenger remains unclear.After touchdown the aircraft had burst into flames, however most occupants were evacuated because they were able to escape from the burning aircraft through a hole in the fuselage left by the crash. Eyewitnesses have stated that the aircraft was attempting to land in dense fog and touched down on soft ground between main runway and taxiway, other observers reported the aircraft touched down short of the runway on soft ground.According to flight documentation on board were 36 passengers and 7 crew members; but there where also several unregistered passengers making the total of people on board 52.All 44 passengers were football fans on their way to the match-up of Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund.This match opened with a minute of silence in memory of the deceased.The aircraft was built in 1973.

Donetsk Region Prosecutor's Officer Volodymyr Vyshynsky is in charge of the inquiry which was opened the day after the crash.On 14 February 2013 investigators considered pilot error, faulty ground support equipment and poor weather conditions as possible causes.The plane's pilot blamed bad weather for the accident; while the plane's operator, South Airlines, stated that the plane was in good condition and the pilot should not have landed in the fog and should have diverted to another airport. One passenger mentioned "engine failure during landing".In the years before this crash, former Soviet republics (like Ukraine) had seen a series of deadly crashes that has tarnished the region's air safety record.Experts blamed them on poor maintenance of aging planes, weak government controls, insufficient pilot training and a cost-cutting mentality among carriers.

An An-24 In Better Days