Russia’s grim leadership: Flight accidents and deaths rise

Yesterday’s plane crash in Tatarstan confirms that Russia is still holding a commanding lead in a number of air disasters.

A Boeing 737 operated by a Russian airline crashed while trying to land in the city of Kazan killing all 50 people on board. When making a second attempt at landing, the plane hit the surface of the runway near the air traffic control tower, as a result of which it crashed and burnt.

There were no citizens of Belarus on board. Irek Minnikhanov, a son of Tatarstan’s president Rustam Minnikhanov, Alexander Antonov, head of the Federal Safety Service Department in Tatarstan, three children are on a dead list.

The Investigation Committee has launched a probe into the crash. The crash might have been caused by pilot error or technical malfunction, the Committee’s representative Alexander Poltinin told news agency Interfax.

It is known that the plane which belonged to air company Tatarstan was to have been withdrawn: it has been in service since 1990. A journalist who said she had flown on the same aircraft from Kazan to Moscow earlier on Sunday told Russia’s Channel 1 that there was a strong vibration during the landing in the Russian capital.

This is not the first accident involving a Boeing-737 in Russia. On May 18, a 400 jet model belonging to UTair caught fire just after landing at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. Luckily, only one landing gear leg was set ablaze, and none of the 136 people on board were injured.

In 2011 Russia and the CIS countries showed a negative trend with a record that was 55 percent worse compared to the same period in 2010. According to the grim statistics given by the International civil aviation organization, the accident rate for that region was 11.07 versus 7.15 in 2010.

Neglecting international safety standards and out-of-date equipment are believed to be one of the causes for the downward trend.

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