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The Siberian Times

Mourning in Irkutsk region for 10 emergency workers lost in air crash

By The Siberian Times reporter
04 July 2016

Il-76 plane crashed while battling wildfires; Minister vows 'We will never forget them.'

The last picture of Il-76 plane. Picture: Alexey Korshunov

A massive search in remote territory ended with wreckage of the Ilyushin being found two days after contact was lost with the Il-76. The plane was lost as it was spraying water over burning forest in Kachugsky district from an altitude of around 300 metres.

One version is that the tail clipped a hillock, causing the aircraft to crash. It is believed hot air from wildfires may have have got inside the plane's engine, causing a loss of thrust, and failure to altitude, touching the tops of trees so causing a loss of control.

Il-76 plane crashed


Il-76 plane crashed


Il-76 plane crashed

It is believed hot air from wildfires may have have got inside the plane's engine, causing a loss of thrust, and failure to altitude, touching the tops of trees so causing a loss of control. Pictures: EMERCOM

A group of foresters told rescuers that they saw how Il-76 dropped water and turned around, passing over them, and almost immediately they heard a sound of clap. It was not the sound of an explosion, as initially reported.

The bodies of all ten people on the plane have been found. The remains have been removed to Irkutsk for identification.

Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov on Monday expressed condolences to the families of crew members, stating: 'All our Emergencies Ministry team is mourning. These were professional pilots and rescuers. We will never forget them.'

He added: 'The crew of the Il-76 Russia knew the south of Siberia very well and worked here for years. They had been working as one team for decades, battling with the emergencies. 

Il-76 plane crashed


Il-76 plane crashed


Il-76 plane crashed

The crash exacerbated the wildfire causing a new challenge for firefighters. Pictures: EMERCOM

'They knew and understood all the risks associated with wildfires, but had been performing the duty of rescuers until the end.' 

Chairman of the Interstate Aviation Committee Sergei Yakimenko said: 'The main versions are: the human factor, failure of equipment and the influence of the environment.' 

The crash exacerbated the wildfire causing a new challenge for firefighters.

Summer wildfires are an annual hazard in Siberia, with their increasing frequency linked by experts to climate change. This airplane came from Moscow region, where it based at Ramenskoye airfield, to help the firefighting. 

Leonid Filin


Leonid Filin Alexey Lebedev

The main pilot was military airman Leonid Filin, a highly experienced pilot with more than 12,000 hours service. Also killed was second pilot Alexey Lebedev - more than 5,500 flying hours. Pictures: Alexey Davydov

It had been used by the Emergency Ministry since 1995. It is known that the main pilot was military airman Leonid Filin, a highly experienced pilot with more than 12,000 hours service. 

Also killed was second pilot Alexey Lebedev - more than 5,500 flying hours, navigator Georgy Petrov - more than 7000. Totally this crew had more than 71,000  flying hours.

State flags are flown at half-mast in the Irkutsk region on Monday in an official day of mourning. Entertainment programmes on television were cancelled for the day as a mark of respect. 

Comments (2)

Very very sad. Les soldats du feu sont des HEROS.
Pensées sincères pour leurs proches.
Jocelyne, FRANCE
05/07/2016 02:06
4
0
First Responders all over the world share your sorrow and loss. Thank you for cancelling all of the entertainment programs for the day as a show of respect for the real role models and critical personnel of every society.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
04/07/2016 22:21
7
0
1

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