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Veteran plane designer lauds toddler’s survival as ‘miracle’ after air crash in Far East

November 16, 16:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Alexei Seryoznov said the death of people in similar air disasters is unfortunately inevitable

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© Russian Emergencies Ministry/TASS

MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. A seasoned Russian aircraft designer has extolled the survival of a toddler in a plane crash as ‘a miracle’ that took place in Russia’s Far Eastern township Nelkan on Wednesday. Many, very many factors should converge for this, and they are impossible to forecast, Alexei Seryoznov, academic director of the Chaplygin Siberian Scientific Research Institute of Aviation, told TASS on Thursday.

"As far as I see it, the fact that girl survived is a miracle. From the footage, we can see that the plane is destroyed, with only a fragment of cabin floor left intact, so it seems some miracle rescued the girl. We can only be happy for her," said Seryoznov.

He said the death of people in similar air disasters is unfortunately inevitable. It is impossible to raise the survival rate through the design of the plane. The expert with 59 years of service under his belt cited NASA, which also confirmed after numerous tests that it is impossible to survive in such situation.

A Let L-410 Turbolet twin-engine short-range passenger plane, en route from Khabarovsk to the village of Nelkan (with a distance of 1,024km between the locations), crashed during landing on Wednesday. Six people - four passengers and two crew members, were killed. The surviving girl was rushed to a hospital in Nelkan in a grave condition. She was later airlifted to Khabarovsk and is in the hospital with a broken leg and a concussion.

Meanwhile, Nelkan residents are asking the authorities to award the teacher for presumably saving the life of the girl she had accompanied.

"We will look into the request, but it is not an easy matter. Of course, they believe that if she was accompanying the child, she saved her life. Their wish is understandable, but there are no eyewitnesses, so the commission will work to sort things out," Governor of the Far Eastern Khabarovsk Region, Vyacheslav Schport, said.

He said the whole township was mourning the deceased victims as one. "Decent people died, all of them were locals, everybody loved them and of course they take it heart," the region’s head said.

The three-year old girl, Zhasmin, was on her way to her grandmother accompanied by a schoolteacher, Olga Laponnikova. The teacher was authorized to accompany the toddler by a power of attorney.

The girl’s mother, who lives in Khabarovsk, decided to send the girl to her grandmother after giving birth to a sibling. The child’s elder brother, a teenager, is also staying with the grandmother in Nelkan, and attending a local school. The grandmother is a pensioner who heads a private household.

The fate of the small girl miraculously surviving the disaster has touched the hearts of many residents of the Far Eastern region. A hotline opened after the crash, which has received numerous offer of help from callers for the little survivor.

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