Early on October 10th, a plane carrying a group of parachute jumpers crashed after takeoff in the Russian region of Tatarstan.
The incident left 16 dead and 6 injured.
At a height of 70 meters, the pilots reported that their left engine had failed and attempted an emergency landing near the city of Menzelinsk, trying to turn the plane leftward to avoid an inhabited area, the regional governor said.
The aircraft’s wing hit a Gazelle vehicle as the plane landed and it overturned, Tatarstan’s governor Rustam Minnikhanov said.
The aircraft had been carrying 20 parachutists and two crew members. Six people were in a serious condition, the Health Ministry said, while all others died.
The Let L-410 Turbolet twin-engine short-range transport aircraft was owned by an aeroclub in the city of Menzelinsk. The aeroclub declined to comment, citing a law enforcement investigation into the incident.
According to Interfax, the plane belonged to the Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Aviation and Navy of Russia, which describes itself as a sports and defence organisation.
It was created in the 1920s and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel to space in 1961, has trained on its airfields.
The head of the Menzelinsk parachuting club said it was not to blame for the accident.
“We are the best, we are among the top five clubs,” Ravil Nurmekhametov told TASS, adding the club has hosted European and World championships. “Cosmonauts train here,” he said.
The Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes, said it had opened a criminal investigation into a suspected violation of safety regulations.
The state-run Cosmonaut Training Centre has suspended its ties with the aeroclub pending an investigation.
Russian aviation safety standards have been tightened in recent years but accidents continue to happen, particularly in remote regions.
An aging Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed in the Russian far east last month killing six people. All 28 people on board an Antonov An-26 twin-engine turboprop died in a crash in Kamchatka in July.
The country also frequently experiences non-fatal air incidents that result in rerouted flights and emergency landings, usually stemming from technical issues.
Flying in Russia can be particularly dangerous in the vast country’s isolated regions, such as the Arctic and the Far East, where weather conditions are frequently extreme.
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