16 feared dead as plane carrying Russian paratroopers crashes in Russia

The wreckage of the L-410 plane is seen at the crash site in Tatarstan region of Russia October 10, 2021.(Russia's Emergencies Ministry/photo via REUTERS)

At least 16 Russian Army’s paratroopers are feared dead and seven others injured after an L-410 plane crashed near a near the town of Menzelinsk in the Republic of Tatarstan of central Russia on Sunday, the emergency services were cited as saying by local media. Seven people were pulled alive from the wreckage, officials said. The remaining sixteen are “without signs of life,” a representative of the emergency services told the RIA Novosti news agency.

The Emergencies Ministry said that the plane had 23 people onboard, including a group of Russian paratroopers, according to the TASS news agency.

Engine Failure

Tatarstan Governor Rustam Minnikhanov, who travelled to the scene, said pilots reported an engine failure and requested an emergency landing shortly after taking off. He said the plane tried to avoid a nearby residential area as it approached for landing but “the altitude didn’t allow it”.

The plane hit a parked van with its wing and the aircraft turned over.

The local health ministry was quoted by RIA as saying that one of the seven survivors who are in hospital is in “very serious condition”.

The aircraft was Let L-410 Turbolet, a twin-engine short-range transport aircraft. Accidents involving ageing planes are common in far-flung regions in Russia, even as its aviation safety standards have improved over the years.

Aircraft groundings

After the crash, the Russian Army, Air Force and Navy Volunteer Society (DOSAAF) announced that it has suspended all L-410 flights pending the end of the investigation. TASS shares the following quote from the organization about this move:

“On instructions from the chairperson of the Army, Air Force and Navy Volunteer Society, Alexander Kolmakov, all flights of L-410 type planes have been suspended until the end of the probe.”

Meanwhile, Ravil Nurmekhametov, chief of the Menzelinsky branch of Tatarstan Central Aeroclub, shared that the crash could not be averted. He said that the plane had no signs of problems and took off routinely. Then, when the engine failure was noticed by the crew, the pilots followed all instructions, but Nurmekhametov states that the a

Last month, an Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed in the Russian far east killing six people. Two other L-410 aircraft also suffered fatal accidents in Russia earlier this year.

All 28 people on board an Antonov An-26 twin-engine turboprop died in a crash in Kamchatka in July.

The country also frequently experiences non-fatal air incidents that result in rerouted flights and emergency landings, usually stemming from technical issues.

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