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20 Oct, 2021 17:12

Plane carrying 50 people including Russian hockey team makes emergency landing ‘after airport worker failed to fully close door’

Plane carrying 50 people including Russian hockey team makes emergency landing ‘after airport worker failed to fully close door’

A Russian hockey squad had an early-hours scare when their plane was forced into an emergency landing, with a press official suggesting a ground worker who failed to properly close a door was likely to have been responsible.

Kontinental Hockey League team Amur Khabarovsk were swiftly grounded in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny, central Russia, just 20 minutes after a midnight departure from Nizhnekamsk, according to reports.

Suspected depressurization caused the issue following their 3-2 defeat at Neftekhimik, with the pilots, who Championat said were flying 50 people including a crew of eight, requesting a descent.

Responding to questions from concerned fans on social media, press representative Alexey Chechelev cautiously confirmed the reports were correct.

"Let's not spread rumors," he added. "There was an unplanned landing.

"The most likely culprit [is] an airport ground worker who did not control the complete closing of the door from the outside in accordance with aviation regulations.

"[They have] already given evidence to the employees of the relevant authorities.

"On this [aspect] I will not say anything – who is to blame, why and so on. There is little data so far."

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Chechelev said that the plane eventually departed eight hours late – at 8.25am Moscow time – and appeared to suggest that it may originally have been rescheduled to fly at 4.25am.

He added that refueling was taking place in the city of Barnaul in Siberia.

Amur are currently in the lower reaches of the Eastern Conference, winning six of their 21 games so far this season.

The setback against Neftekhimik was their second successive 3-2 defeat and fifth loss in six matches.

The Chernyshev Division side are based in the east of Russia and won the Motor Cup in 2019.

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