All bodies from plane crash near Russia's Irkutsk identified
The Antonov An-12 (Cub) transport plane crashed on Thursday afternoon, killing all six crew members and three individuals accompanying the cargo on board. Officials said all victims were residents of the Irkutsk region.
The plane’s flight recorders have been discovered and handed to a Trade and Industry Ministry commission investigating the crash, investigators said.
Investigators named a possible pilot error, plane breakdown and poor weather as likely reasons for the crash.
The plane, owned by the Irkutsk Aviation Plant and reportedly transporting industrial cargo from Novosibirsk, destroyed three military warehouses.
A number of An-12s have been involved in fatal accidents in recent years, including one operated by Russian charter firm Avis-Amur that crashed in Russia's Far East in August 2011, killing all 11 on board, following a fire caused by a fuel leak.
The last Soviet-built An-12 rolled off the production line in 1973.
Pilots generally praise the An-12 as a sound design, and it has a good safety record in its long service with the Russian Air Force. Many, however, are now operated by small airlines, often based in third-world countries, that fail to properly maintain their planes or overload them in a bid to make extra profit.
Detectives are investigating three main theories of the crash of an Antonov An-12 airplane near the Siberian city of Irkutsk, including the piloting error, spokesman of the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said on Friday.
"The detectives are investigating piloting error, malfunction of the airplane and bad weather," he said.
A criminal case was opened under Article 263 Part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code for violation of air traffic rules and aircraft steering rules that entailed the death of two and more people through negligence. The search at the crash site continues.
"Five people found dead at the crash site are being identified," Markin said.
In the research-and-production corporation Irkut the detectives are confiscating the flight technical documentation for the airplane, individual flight records of crew members, and samples of fuel the airplane was filled with.
"Employees from the Irkutsk aircraft-building plant that were involved in organizing the flight and its fuelling are being questioned. The information is received about people who could have been onboard the airplane at the moment of the crash - six crewmen and three aircraft technicians," Markin said.
Bodies of another four killed in the Antonov An-12 plane crash near Irkutsk have been found. They are not retrieved from the plane so far because of investigation actions, said Valentin Nelyubov, acting head of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s (EMERCOM) main department for the Irkutsk region.
"They are in the plane, the same as the flight recorders. They are not taken out as the investigative action is underway," he said.
All the people who were on the An-12 plane — six crewmembers and three accompanying persons, were killed in the crash on December 26.
On the same day, five bodies were found.
The An-12 plane, owned by the Irkut Research and Production Corporation, was carrying aircraft components from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk. It crashed at about 21:45, local time, (12:45 GMT) in the area of the Batareinaya station of the East Siberian railway on December 26 during landing approach.
According to the investigation, at a distance of one kilometer to the landing strip the aircraft disappeared from the radars. When falling the plane, hitting with its wings the roofs of warehouses, was partially destroyed. All those on board were killed — six crewmembers and three accompanying persons. A criminal case was opened over the air crash on violation of the rules of aircraft traffic safety and operation resulting in the death of two and more persons through negligence (Article 263, part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code).
Voice of Russia, RIA, Interfax,