Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dashcam Video Shows How Close Moscow Airplane Crash At Vnukovo Airport Came To A Major Highway

On December 29th, 2012, a Russian Tupolev Tu-204 passenger airliner crashed upon landing at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, one of three international airports servicing the city. Four people were killed, and four others taken to hospital. The Daily Mail story provides the most pictures, while the RT story provides the most detailed narrative.

The airliner, which was flying in from Pardubice in the Czech Republic, had already missed one approach to the airport and was making its second try around 16:35 Moscow time (1235 GMT). It overshot the runway, slid onto the Kievskoye Highway, fell into three pieces and caught fire. Ambulance response was delayed by heavy traffic, while Vnukovo firefighters were allegedly delayed in their response by 50 minutes because all firefighting vehicles were deadlined on repair.

What's chilling is that some motorists on the highway were nearly caught up in it, as this dashcam video shows (the plane shows up on your right):

The four fatalities include the captain, the co-pilot, the flight engineer and a flight attendant; the four injured include three flight attendants and a technical staff. They sustained traumatic brain injuries and are currently hospitalized in critical condition.

Vladimir Markin, the official spokesman of Investigative Committee, says a criminal case concerning flight safety and aircraft employment violations has been opened; he adds that preliminary cause of the accident appears to be pilots error, although other factors will be considered. Light snow was falling at the airport at the time. Two black boxes have been recovered. Rosaviation head Aleksander Neradko said the pilots were very experienced, with a combined flying time between 10 to 15 thousand hours. Regarding the Tu-204, pilot and aviation expert Yury Karash said “Tupolev 204 is a fairly reliable aircraft. 73 pieces have been produced so far and 62 are still in service. So far there’s been only one hull loss accident, which happened in 2010. And it was not because of some hardware malfunction, it was pilot’s error: they were using GPS equipment not certified for precision landing”. This specific aircraft, which can carry 210 passengers, was last serviced at the Vnukovo international maintenance repair & overhaul center on December 14th.

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