Human error to blame for Russian plane crash: reports
Russia on Sunday named two passengers killed in a Moscow plane accident amid reports that human error could have caused the Russian-made plane's engines to fail, forcing it to crash land.
The Dagestan Airlines plane bound for Makhachkala in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan with 169 people on board rolled off the runway at Domodedovo airport and broke up into three pieces, killing two and injuring more than 80.
Moscow transport investigators on Sunday named as victims Roza Gadzhiyeva and Gadzhimurad Magomedov, the brother of the president of Dagestan, Magomedsalam Magomedov
It was not immediately clear whether Magomedov died in the crash or later in hospital. Reports on Saturday had named the second victim as Irina Khanukayeva.
Investigators said in a statement Sunday that they were examining all possible scenarios, but reports questioned whether human error was responsible.
A source close to the investigation told the RIA Novosti news agency the crew decided to take off despite two defects on the plane, without elaborating.
The crew possibly forgot to switch on fuel pumps while taking off, allowing air to enter the system, a law enforcement source told the Interfax news agency
"All the specialists agree that probably the reason for what happened was human error," the source told Interfax.
Investigators on Saturday opened a criminal probe into failure to follow safety procedures.
The airline's general director, Mirza Omariyev, said in televised comments on Saturday that the Tupolev-154 plane, dating from 1992, had a major refit in 2009, and was flown by an experienced crew.
The Tupolev-154 has a chequered record, with the most recent crash in April when a plane carrying Polish president Lech Kaczynski and 95 others crashed in fog in northwestern Russia.
A charter plane flew the bodies of two dead back to Dagestan on Sunday, the Russian Aviation Agency told the ITAR-TASS news agency.
The health ministry said Sunday morning that 54 people remained hospitalised, with five in a serious condition.
© 2010 AFP