Two Planes Crash in Siberia, 26 Reported Killed
MOSCOW (AP) _ Two private airplanes crashed in Siberia over the weekend, killing at least 26 people. One plane reportedly was loaded down with four cars and 12 tons of fish.
All 14 passengers and seven crew members died when an Antonov-12 plane crashed Saturday near the city of Ust-Ilimsk while attempting to land, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said Sunday. Three children were among the passengers, spokesman Viktor Abrosimov said.
Local emergency officials told the ITAR-Tass news agency that the plane was heavily loaded with four cars and 12 tons of fish products.
Abrosimov said the four-engine turbo-prop began to disintegrate as it approached Ust-Ilimsk airport, 2,200 miles northeast of Moscow, for refueling. The aircraft, which belonged to the Aeronika company, then burst into flames and crashed on a mountainside.
In the second accident, five people were killed when a single-engine Antonov-2 caught fire and crashed Saturday while taking off from the Siberian village of Batasai in the Yakut republic, 2,500 miles northeast of Moscow, Abrosimov said.
The plane, which belonged to the Yakutavia joint stock company, was carrying 12 passengers and a crew of two. Five people were killed, including one child, Abrosimov said. The survivors were hospitalized.
There have been more than a dozen air crashes over the past year and a half in the former Soviet Union, where lack of money for plane maintenance and salaries have been blamed for declining safety standards. More than 500 people have died in plane crashes over that period.
Russian news reports have said pilots sometimes accept bribes to take on excess cargo or passengers and face threats if they refuse to do so.