Plane crash probe pro­gress­ing

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

MOSCOW: Rus­sian ex­perts in­ves­ti­gat­ing the week­end plane crash out­side Moscow that killed 71 peo­ple said on Tues­day that the ac­ci­dent may have been caused by ice on speed-mea­sur­ing in­stru­ments which led to faulty in­for­ma­tion on the craft’s air­speed.

“A fac­tor in the de­vel­op­ment of a spe­cial sit­u­a­tion in the flight could be the wrong data about flight speed on pi­lots’ in­di­ca­tors which was likely due to iced pitot tubes (speed probes) while their heat­ing sys­tems were shut off,” said the Rus­sian In­ter­state Avi­a­tion Com­mit­tee (IAC) which in­ves­ti­gates air­craft in­ci­dents.

The Antonov An-148 plane took off from Moscow’s Do­mode­dovo air­port on Sun­day to the Rus­sian city of Orsk and went down in a field around 70 kilo­me­tres south­east of Moscow shortly af­ter. All 65 pas­sen­gers and six crew mem­bers on board died.

The IAC said it has com­pleted anal­y­sis of the on-board flight recorder and would still need to an­a­lyse the black box which recorded con­ver­sa­tions in the cock­pit. It would also look at whether the pitot tubes, a vi­tal piece of equip­ment which mea­sures air­speed, could have mal­func­tioned.

Iced-over pitot tube in­stru­ments were pre­vi­ously named as the likely rea­son be­hind the Air France 447 flight crash­ing into the At­lantic in 2009, killing 228 peo­ple on board.

The RBK news­pa­per on Tues­day quoted sources as say­ing that the cap­tain of the Rus­sian flight re­fused the de-ic­ing pro­ce­dure while the plane was in Do­mode­dovo air­port. Kom­m­er­sant news­pa­per pre­vi­ously said that this was op­tional given the rel­a­tively mild tem­per­a­tures at the time.

The IAC said the flight be­gan hav­ing prob­lems two and a half min­utes af­ter take­off at an al­ti­tude of about 1,300 me­tres, at which point in­stru­ments be­gan to dis­play vastly dif­fer­ent speeds.

The plane’s au­topi­lot was turned off and it be­gan to sharply lose speed un­til im­pact with the ground, the IAC said.

Rus­sia’s I nves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee, which probes ma­jor crimes, said it would con­sider the IAC’s find­ings in its crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Emer­gency work­ers have been comb­ing through deep snow at the crash site. On Tues­day, the emer­gency min­istry said they had re­cov­ered 1,400 body parts and 900 plane frag­ments.

Author­i­ties were tak­ing DNA sam­ples from rel­a­tives of the vic­tims in or­der to com­plete iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The emer­gency min­istry added on Tues­day that it lifted two en­gines from a crater formed by the plane’s im­pact, send­ing them to be in­ves­ti­gated. The search would con­tinue yes­ter­day, it said.

The flight was op­er­ated by the do­mes­tic Sara­tov Air­lines.


Peo­ple place can­dles in front of Christ the Saviour Cathe­dral in Moscow on Tues­day, in mem­ory of the vic­tims of a plane crash on Sun­day.

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