Russia finds plane wreckage, no survivors: official

10th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian rescuers on Wednesday found the remains of the cargo plane carrying 11 that crashed in the remote Magadan region, an official said, confirming that there were no survivors in the accident.

"Search teams found no survivors," spokesman of Russia's aviation agency Rosaviatsia Sergei Izvolsky told AFP. "There is great damage to the plane, its remains are strewn over a two kilometre radius."

Helicopters found the debris some 80 kilometres (50 miles) away from the nearest town Omsukchan at 16:30 local time Wednesday (0630 GMT), over 24 hours after the plane went missing.

The An-12 cargo plane disappeared off the radars on Tuesday after reporting that it was leaking oil and that one of its four engines was on fire, requesting to make an emergency landing at the Magadan airport.

Transport prosecutors said on Tuesday that all those aboard appeared to have perished in the accident.

The specific reason for the crash of the plane, which was carrying 16 tonnes of food supplies to a remote Chukotka village Kepperveyem, is under investigation, Izvolsky said. He declined to say whether bodies were found.

The Investigative Committee has narrowed down the reasons to "technical malfunction of the plane" and "pilot errors" as its main theories, it said in a statement Wednesday.

The plane was operated by Khabarovsk-based Avis Amur company. The aircraft register said the missing jet was the oldest An-12 in civilian use in Russia, made in 1963.

It went down in one of Russia's most remote and sparsely populated regions in the subarctic.

Russia witnessed four crashes and hard landings of Soviet-made planes over the past month, three of which had a total of 65 casualties. A hard landing Monday by an An-24 carrying 36 people injured 15 and broke off the plane's wing.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this summer recommended the two models of Soviet-era jets, the An-24 and Tu-134, be taken out of regular service by the year end after two crashes killed 54 people in three weeks.

© 2011 AFP

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