Many young parents among victims of the deadly Russian plane crash
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People are bringing flowers to the airport at the Russian city of Kazan in memory of those killed in Sunday’s plane crash. All 50 people on board perished.
The tragedy touched many,
including Rustam Minnikhanov, the Tatarstan President, who lost
his 23-year-old son, Irek Minnikhanov, in the accident.
celebrated his marriage just a few months previously when he
married a French beauty, whom he met at college in Switzerland.
Antonia was due to have accompanied her husband on the flight to
Kazan. Fortunately, Irek didn't take his wife, 8-months pregnant
with their first child, saying it was too dangerous for her to
There were two children among the victims of the crash, one of
them was the a step-daughter of a Russian TV sports commentator.
Roman Skvortsov has lost his wife Ellina and her 11-year-old
daughter Dasha in the tragedy.
They took the flight to Kazan to spend time with their relatives.
"I've got only one question left now, why live?" the journalist, who celebrated his first wedding anniversary only three weeks ago, wrote on his Twitter.
Many young people were among the victims when the plane exploded in a ball of fire after hitting the runway.
One heartbreaking story
revolved around Mstislav Kamashev, a young prodigy and graduate
of Kazan’s prestigious Faculty of Computational Mathematics and
Cybernetics. At the age of 4, he could count to 100 in English,
and knew a 1,000 English words. He entered university when he was
13 and instantly became a local celebrity. Several months ago the
young man got married. On the eve of the trip to Moscow, his
wife, Anastasia, told Mstislav she was pregnant. The couple was
expecting their first child.
In the eyes of many, another Kazan resident, Alina Khazifova, was
the embodiment of luck. At 26, the young business-woman was the
owner of a small clothing shop and had ambitious plans for the
future. Alina was also on board the ill-fated aircraft.
23-year-old Aliya Akhmetshina, one of those who died in the plane crash, also had great expectations. The woman, originally from the Kirov Region, had recently moved to Kazan and had married just two months ago.
After the Emergencies Ministry revealed the list of the victims, it transpired that only 21 passengers were from the Republic of Tatarstan, with a number of them coming from neighboring Russian regions.
Husband and wife, Aleksandr Yankilajkis and Elena Kuznetsova,
from Udmurtia, were among the passengers onboard the Boeing 737.
Their only son has lost both parents in the tragedy.
The deadly plane crash has also taken the life of a 27-year-old
resident of Novocherkassk, a city in the Rostov Oblast. Dmitry
Muzychuk's father told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily that his son, a
sportsman, texted his parents from Moscow airport on Sunday,
saying that his flight was delayed due to some technical
problems. Dmitry was the father of two sons: four-year-old Danila
and little Ilya, who's only 9-months old. Dmitry's mother has
left for Kazan to identify the body of her son.
She is joined by relatives of other victims who have arrived in the Tatar capital to identify the bodies of their loved ones.
Another mother devastated by grief was Minnis Sadrutdinova, who
also lost her son in the tragedy.
"He was such a good guy, didn’t smoke or drink. His child is
only 3 years old. The family lived happily together. He had big
plans..." Minnis Sadrutdinova told NTV.
Many of the victims of the plane crash, like 36-year-old Viktoria
Shchukina, were heading to Kazan on a business trip. The young
woman from the Amur Oblast, in the Russian Far East, was an
expert from the Federal Antimonopoly Service. She flew to Kazan
to do a professional training course.
The 39-year-old father of a large family, Pavel Prokofiev, from
Volgograd Region, was also flying to Kazan on business. His wife
and three kids had stayed at home, waiting for their beloved
daddy to return.
A high-ranking official, the head of the regional Federal
Security Service (FSB) - 56-year-old Lt. Gen. Aleksander Antonov
- was also on board the plane.
There were two foreigners, a Ukrainian and a British national, among the victims of the crash. Donna Bull was an education consultant and the A-Level program director at Bellerbys College. In late November Bull was due to hold a series of consultations on educational issues in Russia.
Donna Bull was “a very popular and well-respected member of
staff” at Bellerbys College in Cambridge.
“Donna had flown out from the UK to Moscow earlier in the day,
where she met Yana [Baranova], and the two were heading to Kazan
for the start of a 10-day marketing trip,” James Pitman,
managing director for Study Group’s higher education division,
Bellerbys College and International Study Centres, said.
Bellerbys Cambridge was closed for teaching today, but open for
staff and students to “come together and grieve”.
The 53-year-old Donna was a wonderful mother to George and Kate
and a dedicated and hard-working professional, her family said.
"This is a very difficult and emotional time for all of the family trying to come to terms with the shock and loss of Donna,” her widower Robert Crome said. “Words are inadequate to express our grief and loss."
‘We won’t land’
The 10-year old daughter of the chief pilot, Rustem Salikhov,
does not know that her beloved father will not arrive home from
work. Her mother, Rustem’s widow, is scared to tell her the
Experienced pilot, Salikhov, is among six crew members who died
in the plane crash. He and his co-pilot Victor Gutsul tried to
land the Boeing 737-500 several times.
“We will not land” were the last words Rustem told a traffic controller at the
Rustem’s widow says he was a great professional who always got
promoted and was an example to his colleagues.
Tatarstan Airlines also confirmed that Salikhov was an
experienced pilot with over 20 years’ experience.
He started working on Boeings in March 2010 as a co-pilot. Three
year later, in March 2013, he was promoted to chief pilot.
Rustem’s mother was hospitalized in intensive care with heart
issues shortly after she was told about the tragedy.