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Investigators have three theories of An-28 crash killing ten in Kamchatka

September 18, 2012, 6:11 UTC+3

These theories are a technical malfunction, unfavorable weather conditions and human error

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, September 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Investigators have three theories of what might have caused the September 12 crash of an An-28 airplane in the Kamchatka territory that killed ten people, head of the Far Eastern transport investigation department of the Russian Investigations Committee Alexei Ustinov told reporters on Tuesday.

According to Ustinov,these theories are a technical malfunction, unfavorable weather conditions and human error. Neither of the three has enough proof, he noted.

Specialists from the Interstate Aviation Committee have already begun decoding of flight recorders from the ill-fortune plane. The plane’s route is being specified with the help of its satellite navigation equipment. Investigators are studying records of conversations the pilots conducted with air traffic controllers “till the last minute,” Ustinov said. Samples of the fuel have been taken, the condition of the plane’s engines and equipment is being scrutinized. Apart from that, experts will study blood samples of the pilots to establish whether there was alcohol or drugs at the moment of crash.

Speaking about the An-28 technical condition, Ustinov noted that “many things testify to the fact that it was in proper condition.” He also noted that its pilots had good reputation with the air company that owned the plane. In his words, media reports that they were drunk seem to be untrue.

As for weather conditions, there were low clouds in Palana and pilots had to be very careful to make a safe landing there. It is clear that the place “deviated from its route,” Ustinov noted. “If it was not so the plane would never hit the ground. And why it happened, what exactly happened and how is yet to be established,” he said.

So far, in his words, investigators abstain from making conclusions. Much is yet to be done to clarify the situation.

The An-28 plane owned by Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airline crashed on September 12 while performing a flight from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana. It hit the Pyatibratka Mount, some 220 meters above sea level and 10.7 kilometers away from its destination. There were two pilots and 12 passengers, including two children, onboard the plane. Then persons, including both pilots and one child, were killed in the crash.

Four persons – two men, a woman and her 13-year-old son – survived the crash. At the moment of the crash, they were in the tail-end and were thrown off the plane as it touched the ground. Currently, they are at hospitals in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Palana. Medics say they are getting better. The boy, who was in a state of coma after the crash, is now breathing himself.

The rescue operation is over. The plane’s fragments have been taken to Palana. A criminal case was opened over the crash.

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