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Great escape as all 39 flee emergency landing in Arctic thanks to 'hero pilot'

By The Siberian Times reporter
19 December 2016

Main section of Il-18 plane carrying military pilots smashed into 3 pieces after 'miraculous touchdown' on thick snow, and wings break off.

This very Il-18 spotted at Tolmachevo airport, Novosibirsk, in May 2016. Picture: Svetlana Balaeva

Initial reports said 30 had died in the crash, but incredibly the Defence Ministry later confirmed all passengers and crew survived after the aircraft made an 'impossible' emergency landing.  

Pictures show some of those on board, 32 passengers and 7 crew, lying on the snow in the moments following the aircraft's landing in the far north of Yakutia, also known as the Sakha Republic,  

There was no major fire as it came to a halt despite a descent which led to the Ilyushin breaking into three pieces as it hit the ground, with both wings torn off. However, it is believed there were flames from the left engine. 

Crash site


Crash site


Crash site

Pictures show some of those on board, 32 passengers and 7 crew, lying on the snow in the moments following the aircraft's landing in the far north of Yakutia. Pictures: Yakutsk.ru

Pilot Andrey Logvinov, 44, from Yekaterinburg, appeared tonight to be the unsung hero after safely bringing to aircraft down despite suspected technical problems in atrocious weather. 

'He did the impossible,' said a source in the Yakutian emergency services. 'Just before the landing, the plane got into the strongest storm. It was next to impossible to land the plane in these weather conditions, and impossible to turn back.

'Andrey Logvinov relied on his experience and instinct and decided to land on the snow. As he landed, the plane was literally thrown from side to side and both wings broke off. He managed to avoid the entire plane catching fire. By a miracle everyone on board survived.'

Senior official in Bulunsky district Igor Kudryashov revealed: 'Passengers said they felt some blow before landing, then the left engine caught the fire.'

Andrey Logvinov

Pilot Andrey Logvinov, 44, from Yekaterinburg, appeared tonight to be the unsung hero after safely bringing to aircraft down. Picture: The Siberian Times

The injured were rushed to the local hospital in Tiksi - population 5,063 - which was understandably overwhelmed. The wounded were filmed lying on the floor, but doctors did their best to cope with the sudden emergency. There were contradictory reports on whether medics had sufficient medicines and blood to cope with the emergency. 

Tatiana, wife of one of the survivors, told how she had first heard from media reports that all but nine of those on board had perished.

'First I tried to learn about him via some hotlines, but then decided to call him on his cell phone and suddenly he replied,' she replied. 'Of course he did not feel good for a long talk. He did not go into details about the causes of the crash, he just told it was an emergency landing. 

'There was some strong side wind and then, then a blow and that's all. They went on the route Yekaterinburg - Kansk - Tiksi two or three times a year. Sometimes they carried some loads.

'To me, it's a second birthday. And it is a sign for us, that we need to leave army service. My husband has been serving for all his life. He need to leave it already. Besides we have a little child. I think it's a sign.' 

In hospital


In hospital


In hospital

The injured were rushed to the local hospital in Tiksi which was understandably overwhelmed. Pictures: NVK Channel

One theory was that the IL-18  suffered from ice on its wings as it approached its final destination in appalling weather. An unnamed state investigator said:  'You should not blame the pilots. We have found out that the plane was coming in at a very low speed. So the crew tried to save the plane. According to one version, the ice protection system was not working.'

The black boxes from the plane have been found and are sent for decryption and analysis. Helicopters evacuated the wounded to hospital. 

The Ilyushin turboprop - a Soviet-era design which came into service almost 60 years ago - came down some 30 km from Tiksi airfield on a routine flight.

Weather was said to be bad in the area. 

A defence ministry source told Interfax that the plane had not given a distress signal, and that the flight took place in harsh weather conditions that could have led to icing of the plane.

Il-18 was on the route Yekaterinburg - Kansk - Tiksi. Pictures: The Siberian Times, YSIA

Map


Tiksi

Comments (3)

Thankfully all have survived, credit to the pilot and crew. Also credit to the staff at the hospital in Tiksi, no wonder such a small hospital was overwhelmed. Hope all the injured have quick recovery.
Neil Adams, England
21/12/2016 15:25
1
0
Good news story for a "Change"...hope they all recover from their injuries in time for Christmas.
Jaker, Dundalk
20/12/2016 23:25
1
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good for them!and three cheers for the pilot and crew! these are the times and situations when HUMANS are needed in the cockpit and no computer, wires and electronics can do that.
Benedikt, Moscow
20/12/2016 09:10
7
0
1

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