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16 people killed, 7 injured in Let L-140 crash in Russia

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A plane crash near Menzelinsk in Tatarstan, Russia, killed 16 persons and injured seven others. On October 10, 2021, a Let L-410 Turbolet carrying 23 people experienced an in-flight engine malfunction during taking off, then lost height and crashed into the ground.

According to the first inquiry, the pilots requested permission to return to the Menzelinsk airstrip (UWPK), but the aircraft quickly lost height. Its wing collided with the edge of the trees, and the plane slammed into a concrete wall segment and a pile of logs. The only portion of the airplane that was not damaged was the tail.

Seven survivors, all of whom were severely injured, were saved by units of the Menzelin fire and rescue garrison. The remaining 16 individuals were killed, including both flight crew members.

According to Interfax.ru, the injured were brought to hospitals in Naberezhnye Chelny and Kazan. In response to the disaster, President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov directed officials to aid the relatives of those killed and injured in the collision.

On October 11, 2021, the Investigative Committee of Russia’s Central Interregional Investigation Directorate for Transport opened a criminal case.

“A criminal case was opened under Part 3 of Art. 263 of the Criminal Code regarding violation of traffic safety rules and operation of air transport, resulting in the death of two or more persons by negligence. […] The maximum penalty for this article provides five years of imprisonment. […] Currently, pre-flight documentation is being seized, eyewitnesses of the tragedy are being questioned,“ the committee told local media.

The reason of the accident has not yet been identified. However, one of the likely causes of the plane accident could have been overload, as the twin-engine L-410 Turbolet, which had been in use since 1987 and was used to fly flights for the Air Force of the USSR before being handed to DOSAAF, is designed to transport up to 19 people.

The Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, a state-run Russian training center, has declared that it has banned all cooperation with the Menzelinsk flying club until an inquiry into the reason for the aircraft crash is completed. Meanwhile, the plane’s owner, DOSAAF, ceased all activities with L-410 planes.

The current incident is the second L-410 plane catastrophe in Russia in 2021. Another plane of the same sort crashed in the taiga near Irkutsk on September 12, 2021.

Four of the 16 passengers on board perished as a result of the accident, including the pilot, and 11 were hospitalized. The ongoing investigation is looking into two possibilities for what caused the crash: equipment failure or a flight crew maneuvering error.

Featured Photo Source: Mchs.gov.ru

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