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State decorations to be conferred on crew of crashed Il-76 plane — ministry

July 05, 15:43 UTC+3 KRASNOYARSK
The crew used to work in the most difficult conditions
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© Sergei Savostianov/TASS

KRASNOYARSK, July 5. /TASS/. State decorations will be conferred on the crew members of the Ilyushin Il-76 plane of the Russian Emergencies Ministry who were killed in a crash in the Irkutsk region while battling forest fires, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Tuesday.

"The crew members have demonstrated professionalism, courage and dedication in the line of duty for the protection of settlements from fire," the minister said at a meeting with the pilots of the Emergencies Ministry’s Siberian aviation rescue center.

According to Puchkov, he has reported this decision both to the Russian president and government. "We are going to prepare the recommendation to confer state decorations on the Il-76 crew," the emergencies minister said.

He said it was a very professional crew. "They worked in the most difficult conditions. It is very important that they fulfilled their duty to the end," the minister said, adding that the pilots were in a very positive mood, they knew all the routes and nuances.

On Monday, experts of the Inter-State Aviation Committee started decoding the flight recorders of the crashed Il-76 plane.

The Russian Emergency Ministry’s Il-76 plane crashed in the Irkutsk region on July 1 during the operation to extinguish forest fires that threatened populated localities. All 10 crew members that have extinguished hundreds of fires in their career were killed.

According to a preliminary version of the accident, the plane, having dropped water on a hot spot in the Kachugky district at an altitude of 300 meters, turned to fly back to the base. Possibly, hot air from wildfires got into the plane engines, and the airliner lost thrust, as a result of which the aircraft could not ascend, hit the tree tops and crashed. The plane burnt down during the crash.

A day of mourning was declared in the Irkutsk region on Monday. 

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