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Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane crash

By The Siberian Times reporter
16 November 2017

Olga Laponnikova, 44, cocooned the girl as the L-410 turboprop 'fell like a stone' into woodland a mile from runaway in Nelkan, eastern Russia.

Zhasmina, 3, is the sole survivor, transported on board of a medical plane. Picture: Todaykhv

Zhasmina owes her life to the quick thinking action of a respected local teacher who was looking after the child when their plane fell out of the sky in Khabarovsk region. 

The girl was the only survivor, and Olga - who had left teaching to work as an inspector of underage children - threw her body of the child in the seat next to her. 

When rescuers arrived at the crash scene, they saw how the brave mother of two had saved the little girl while herself dying from the impact of the crash. 

Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror


Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror


Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror


Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror


Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror


Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror
Zhasmina, 3, on board of a medical plane, and the crash site. Pictures: Todaykhv


Natalia Petukhova, head of the Nelkan administration, said: 'When the witnesses ran up to the crashed plane, there was silence except that the child was crying.'Evgeny Arkhinos, airport director, raced to the scene. 

'In order to prevent fire, I tore off part of the cabin cover and disconnected the accumulator just with my bare hands, although usually you need a screwdriver to do this. 

'Then I heard somebody was crying. 

'The girl was sitting in her seat wearing a seat belt, next to a woman. 

'This woman was Olga Laponnikova. She had covered the girl with her body.'

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Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror


Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror


Tribute to Olga Laponnikova 
Olga Laponnikova and a memorial in her honour put at the school. 


Local woman Tatiana Fonova knew Olga well, and said: 'It is such a tragedy, so painful for me and for every single citizen of Nelkan. 

'I heard from Nelkan people that when they ran up to the crash scene they saw Olga had covered the girl with her own body.

'I am sure this was the case otherwise the girl would have been serious traumatised too. 

'Olga was just that kind of a wonderful person.'

Zhasmina arrives in Khabarovsk hospital

There were calls today for her to be awarded a posthumous medal for saving the child's life. 

One came from the school director in Nelkan, Ton Sun Pakhomova, who herself lost her daughter in law in thetragic crash. 

Olga's mother in law Anna Laponnikova was also killed in the crash.

She was a well known local geologist who had worked in Ayano-Maysky district all her life.

Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror



Other passengers of the same flight that perished in the tragedy


Tatiana said: 'Those who live in Nelkan all flew on this route because there is no other transport there. 

'This is why everybody is thinking today that they could have been in that very plane. 

'I want to see some kind of conclusions made in this case, apart from condolences, because we have to live and we have to fly.'

Locals feel that their warnings about safety have been ignored in the past. 

Zhasmina was today moved to Khabarovsk city for further medical treatment although there is no threat to her life. 

Zhasmina on the way to Khabarovsk


Zhasmina on the way to Khabarovsk

Zhasmina was accompained by the local governor Vyacheslav Shport

She was accompanied by Khabarovsk governor Vyacheslav Shport and a team of doctors.

She will be reunited with her mother Maria, 32, who had sent her on the flight to be cared for by her grandmother. 

Pavel Kurnyavka, the head doctor of a regional emergency medicine rescue team, sent to examine Zhasmina, said: 'The girl has perfectly survived through the night, her life is not in danger. 

'Her leg fracture was confirmed but the diagnosis of  concussion is still questioned. The child is conscious.'

Евгений Архинос


Respected teacher was the hero who saved miracle girl Zhasmina Leontyeva, 3, in plane horror
Nelkan airport director Yevgeny Arkhinos: 'In order to prevent fire, I tore off part of the cabin cover and disconnected the accumulator just with my bare hands, although usually you need a screwdriver'


Pilot Vladimir Misyura who knew dead captain of the stricken plane Igor Shumakov, said: 'Investigators will discover all the reasons for it but I heard  from witnesses of the crash that the plane was about to land, then suddenly leaned to the right, turned right and fell like a stone. 

'I can only suppose that the engine stopped and the propeller feathering did not follow. It was as if the plane hit an invisible air wall.'

The aircraft was at an altitude of 90 metres when the catastrophe struck.

If there was engine failure, the plane appears not to have glided, but fallen.

'If they were higher, they would have managed,' he said. 'Too low, and the time was too limited. 

Zhasmina arrived in Khabarovsk


Zhasmina and her mom Maria

In Khabarovsk Zhasmina finally reunited with her moter Maria (first from the right).

'I completely exclude this was the fault of pilots, it must have been some force-majeure situation.

'Igor Shumakov was a God-gifted pilot, he could operate the Yakovlev-40, Antonov-24, Antonov-26 and L-410. For each plane he was a pilot-instructor. 

'I just can't get my head around what happened here.'

Investigators are examining the evidence for what brought down the plane which had been on route from regional capital Khabarovsk city.

Comments (5)

All love to the woman who gave her life for a little angel to live some longer. I hope the baby girl will fully recover.
Poma, Stockholm, Sweden
21/11/2017 19:08
0
0
What a lovely mother to save a child She is a loving teacher and does deserve to be called a hero. That beautiful medal and award will be something special for a special person. RIP and may all the people be given a chance to celebrate her heroic act which took great love.
Patricia Gothard, Laguna Woods, USA
20/11/2017 04:47
1
0
I agree with the eloquent sentiments of Benedikt and Veysel and I hope the cause of this crash can be identified. I also agree that "a wall of air" and "dropping like a stone" are very ominous and I have no doubt the highly qualified and experienced pilots were doing everything humanly possible to respond to a sudden and totally unexpected crisis situation.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
20/11/2017 04:11
1
0
Of the qualifications of a teacher, love and devotion make this profession sacred. Rest in peace, dear Olga!
Veysel Yahsi, Irkutsk/RUSSIA
17/11/2017 19:04
3
0
a medal is not enough! she should be awarded the Hero of Russia because that is what she was and is and will be! not many people around who would do this .
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
17/11/2017 11:50
4
0
1

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