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Toddler surviving plane crash in Russian Far East was flying to grandmother

The surviving girl was rushed to a hospital in a grave condition

MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. A three-year old girl, who turned out to be the only survivor of a plane disaster in Russia’s Khabarovsk region, was on her way to her grandmother accompanied by a school teacher, the head of the township Nelkan where the plane went down during its landing, Naliya Petukhova, told TASS on Wednesday.

"The girl was flying to her grandmother Irina Alexandrovna, accompanied by a school teacher who was authorized to accompany her by a power of attorney. The grandmother lives in our settlement. She is now in hospital with the girl," Petukhova said.

She said the girl’s mother, who lives in Khabarovsk, decided to send the girl to her grandmother after giving birth to a sibling. The girl’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.

"When eyewitnesses rushed to the crashed plane, it was silent inside, only a child’s cry could be heard," she added. The toddler was diagnosed with a cerebral concussion and several fractures. She is in a grave but stable condition.

The girl is conscious, she could speak and was terrified. "When I recently visited the hospital again, she fell asleep," the head of the local administration said. A helicopter with a team of medics arrives from Khabarovsk on Wednesday. On Thursday the girl along with her grandmother will be airlifted to Khabarovsk.

The girl’s mother learned about the crash from the son living in Nelkan. She said she had called her mother to ask whether the daughter had arrived, and the son said he was told the plane had crashed. She said she had nearly turned gray before she learned good news. "I am taking pills now, it’s all so hard," a local news agency quoted her as saying.

A Let L-410 Turbolet twin-engine short-range passenger plane, en route from Khabarovsk to the village of Nelkan (some 1,024 km from Khabarovsk), crashed during landing. Six people - four passengers and two crewmembers, were killed. The surviving girl was rushed to a hospital in Nelkan in a grave condition.