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Ukraine ready to join probe into An-148 crash

On February 11, an An-148 passenger aircraft crashed near Moscow

KIEV, February 13. /TASS/. Experts from Ukraine’s Antonov State Company and the National Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau are ready to depart for Moscow any time, Bureau Director Oleg Babenko told TASS.

"After receiving a notice from the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), we have been in contact with Russia concerning the An-148 plane crash, we have been closely cooperating," he said.

According to Babenko, a decision on the Ukrainian experts’ departure may be made after the study of documents referring to the aircraft crash is completed. "We are waiting for the black boxes to be decoded. After that, experts will assess the information and draw conclusions," he noted.

Babenko said that it was meaningless for the Ukrainian experts to go to Russia straight away. "It has no sense as no conclusions have been drawn yet. But if the commission will consider our presence important, we will come immediately," he added.

The Ukrainian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau chief stressed that it could happen should questions arise concerning the aircraft engine manufactured by Ukraine’s Motor Sich company. "We are confident that there will be no particular questions about our engine but if there are, our experts will depart for Russia immediately," Babenko said.

He went on to say that Ukraine would thoroughly study all the documents. "For our part, we will dig deep to help find out the cause of this tragedy," the Ukrainian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau chief concluded.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Antonov company’s press service told TASS that Ukraine planned to send five experts to Russia to take part in investigating the recent Antonov An-148 plane crash. The Kiev-based Antonov State Company will send four of its staff members, while another expert will represent the National Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau.

On February 11, an Antonov An-148 passenger aircraft, operated by Saratov Airlines, which was en route to the town of Orsk, crashed several minutes after taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, killing all 71 people aboard. The aircraft wreckage was found near the Stepanovskoye settlement in the Ramensky District, Moscow region.