Rus­sia’s Tu-154 plane: A his­tory of ac­ci­dents

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Tupolev air­craft maker’s Tu-154, the type of plane that crashed yes­ter­day in the Black Sea with 92 peo­ple on board, is an age­ing Rus­sian work­horse whose record is plagued with ac­ci­dents.

Although Rus­sian com­mer­cial air­lines are no longer known to use the plane which first flew in 1972 and went out of pro­duc­tion in 1994 — it is still used by the mil­i­tary. In spite of the tragedy, Rus­sia’s In­dus­try and Trade Min­is­ter Denis Man­turov told lo­cal news agen­cies Sun­day that per­ma­nently re­tir­ing all Tu-154 air­craft would be “pre­ma­ture.”

Sim­i­lar in size and per­for­mance to a Boe­ing 737, with a range of 4,000 kilo­me­tres (2,500 miles), the Tu-154 can carry be­tween 155 and 180 pas­sen­gers at a cruis­ing speed of 850 kilo­me­tres an hour. Rus­sia has ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing the plane, in­clud­ing some that date back to the 1990s.

On Jan­uary 1, 2011, a Tu-154B be­long­ing to a com­mer­cial air­line burst into flames be­fore take-off on a run­way at an air­port in Rus­sia’s Far North. Three peo­ple were killed and more than 30 in­jured in the in­ci­dent, which led to some of the planes be­ing grounded.

On De­cem­ber 4, 2014, a Tu-154 pas­sen­ger plane broke apart af­ter rolling off the run­way at Moscow’s Do­mode­dovo air­port, killing two peo­ple. On April 10, 2010, a Tu-154 car­ry­ing Pol­ish pres­i­dent Lech Kaczyn­ski and other top Pol­ish of­fi­cials came down in fog near the Rus­sian city of Smolensk, and all 96 peo­ple on board per­ished. The del­e­ga­tion was head­ing to a cer­e­mony in Rus­sia’s Katyn for­est for thou­sands of Pol­ish army of­fi­cers killed by Soviet se­cret po­lice in 1940 — a mas­sacre the Krem­lin had de­nied un­til 1990.

In July 2009, a Tu-154 be­long­ing to the Ira­nian com­pany Caspian Air­lines crashed in north­ern Iran, killing all 168 on board. In Au­gust 2006, a Tupolev of the Rus­sian Pulkovo air­line crashed in Ukraine af­ter try­ing to fly above a storm, killing 170 peo­ple.

In Fe­bru­ary 2012, a Tu-154 on an Ira­nian do­mes­tic flight crashed in the south­west of the coun­try, killing 117. Other ma­jor ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing the Tu-154 were in July 2001 in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, with 145 dead, and in Au­gust 1996 on the Nor­we­gian is­land of Spitzber­gen, killing 141. —AFP

MOSCOW: Flo­ral tributes in front of por­traits of Rus­sian TV jour­nal­ists who were aboard the crashes mil­i­tary plane, dis­played in Moscow yes­ter­day. —AP

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