Airbus to help Russia investigate Siberia air crash - 1

European aircraft-maker Airbus will help Russia investigate an air crash in Siberia Sunday that claimed more than 100 lives.
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PARIS, July 9 (RIA Novosti) - European aircraft-maker Airbus will help Russia investigate an air crash in Siberia Sunday that claimed more than 100 lives.

In accordance with international practice, a group of Airbus experts will soon fly into Irkutsk, where an Airbus A-310 crashed in the early hours of July 9, to provide technical assistance to the investigation, the Airbus press office said.

Russian emergency services said that 120 people had been killed after the airliner veered off the runway on landing and burst into flames after hitting a concrete wall.

Irkutsk, 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) east of Moscow, is the main airport for holidaymakers heading for Lake Baikal, a popular destination for Russians in the summer.

Airbus has expressed its condolences to the relatives and close ones of the air crash victims.

However, the Toulouse-based company has declined to comment on the possible causes of the plane's crash, saying this was the competence of Russian investigative authorities.

According to Airbus, the A-310-300 plane, operated by Russian airline S7, formerly called Sibir Airlines, was manufactured in June 1987 and supplied to the now defunct U.S. PanAm air company. It was subsequently transferred to Russia under a leasing arrangement. The airliner was equipped with the engines produced by the U.S. company Pratt & Whitney.

Over the period of its operation, the airbus made more than 10,000 flights and had a flight record of over 52,000 hours, Airbus said.

The A-310-300 is a two-engine large-fuselage airliner seating 220 passengers. The first aircraft of this type were put into operation in December 1985, the Airbus press office said.

A total of 229 A-310 aircraft were operated by 39 air companies throughout the world at the end of June 2006, the press office said.

The airbus on the Moscow-Irkutsk flight crashed in the early hours of July 9 during landing in the airport of Irkutsk in East Siberia.

According to the airline, there were 192 passengers and eight crewmembers on board.

S7 said the airbus was technically prepared for the flight.

"The airbus that crashed near Irkutsk was in order," spokesman Alexander Zyubr said.

Russia's East Siberia has been plagued by air crashes in the past few years.

In January 1994, a Tu-154 aircraft crashed on takeoff from Irkutsk, killing 124 people. In December 1997, an A-124 military transport aircraft crashed into a residential area in Irkutsk just seconds after take-off, killing 76 people. In July 2001, a Tu-154 Russian airliner crashed near Irkutsk, claiming the lives of 145 people.

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