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22 Mar, 2010 13:05

Passenger jet crash lands near Moscow airport

A Russian Tu-204 passenger jet returning from Egypt crashed in woodland while attempting to land at Moscow's Domodedovo International airport. It was only carrying crew members at the time.

According to the latest information, four of the crew members out of total eight were badly injured and have been hospitalized. The other four have not suffered any severe injuries. Russian aviation officials have prohibited the airline who owned the plane from continuing passenger flights.

The plane was travelling from Khurgada, Egypt, and crashed just a kilometer from the airport near Aviagorodok village, Interfax reported, quoting a source in the law enforcement agencies. The flight recorders have already been found, but it will take time for them to be decoded.

“At 02:35 Moscow time a TU-204 plane belonging to Aviastar Tour Company, on its way from Egypt to Moscow, lost altitude when approaching Moscow Domodedovo airport and made an emergency landing in a wooded area about one kilometer from the runway,” Elena Galanova, a spokeswoman for Moscow Domodedovo airport, told RT. “There were no passengers onboard, and there were eight crew members – all of them survived.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a case regarding a breach of flight security rules. The law stipulates a punishment from two to four years in prison if rules have been broken.

Pavel Selivyorstov of the Investigative Committee told journalists earlier that “In such cases, we have standard versions of what could have happened. First is a technical problem, second – pilot error. It could be other technical things like low quality fuel. Right now we are checking all possible theories.”

What makes this particular incident more remarkable is that it is the second crash landing for this airplane, according to a source in the law enforcement agencies, Interfax reported.

The very same passenger plane made an emergency landing at Domodedovo airport one day ago.

At 04:00 on Monday, March 22, the same plane, but with over 200 passengers onboard, was flying from Moscow to Khurgada. At a distance of about 300 kilometers south of Moscow the crew detected fumes in the cockpit and decided to go back. At 06:00 the plane successfully landed at Domodedovo airport. The minor failure was repaired and the plane took off to Khurgada again. It was coming back empty when the second crash landing occurred.

A special commission will investigate the Tu-204 crash, said Sergey Izvolsky from Rosaviation. It will include representatives of the Interstate Aviation Committee, Rosaviation, and other federal bodies.