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Monday, March 19, 2007

Another Russian Plane Goes Down

Yet another Russian airliner has crashed, killing at least seven of the nearly 60 passengers. The Observer reports: "At least seven people died and 23 were injured when an airliner crash-landed in fog yesterday in the city of Samara, 550 miles southeast of Moscow. Aministry spokeswoman said the Russian Tu-134 carrying 57 people grazed the runway with a wing. 'Its fuselage then collapsed and it crashed,' she said." RIA Novosti continued:

Media reports that a Tu-134 plane that crashed in southern Russia Saturday, killing six people, was technically unsafe are untrue, the press office of the air company that owns the plane said Sunday. The Tu-134 jet liner, en route from the West Siberian town of Surgut, had 50 passengers and seven crewmen on board when it crash-landed in foggy weather in the Volga city of Samara Saturday morning. Twenty-one people, including four crewmen, were hospitalized. "Some media reports that the TU-134 plane allegedly had defects do not correspond to reality. The plane, before it hit the ground, was technically fit and met airworthiness and maintenance standards applicable to this type of aircraft," the press office of UTAir said. A sudden deterioration of weather conditions, which was confirmed by a report filed immediately after the crash, could have been a possible reason for the crash, the press office said.The Transportation Ministry said Saturday UTAir had decided to pay $75,000 to each family of those killed in the crash. Transportation Minister Igor Levitin said in February the aging Russian medium-haul airliners Tu-154 and Tu-134 would be phased out of commercial use within the next five years. The Russian government has recently launched projects to replace the old Tu-154 and Tu-134 models with more technologically advanced SuperJet-100 and MS-21 mid-haulers. But these aircraft will not enter service until 2012.
LR has previously documented the horrors of Russia's very unfriendly skies. The photo above is from the scene of the crash of a Tupalev-154 while flying from the Russian Black Sea holiday resort of Anapa to St Petersburg in August 2006.

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