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It is still a mystery for us: Kazakhstan Transport Ministry about CRJ-200 plane crash

07 february 2013, 20:22
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At the accident site. ©tengrinews.kz
At the accident site. ©tengrinews.kz
Vice-Minister of Transport and Communications and chairman of the Commission for Investigation of the CRJ-200 Plane Crash Azat Bekturov told about the investigation into the accident, Tengrinews.kz reports.

"This is a mystery: the pilot goes for the second round, but the plane does not abide and instead crash into the ground. It is a mystery for us and the investigators," Bekturov said.

The speaker said that the plane reached the ground in "an one piece" and was damaged only by the crash into the ground. Besides, he said that the board recorders had been decoded and the experts were working with the data.

"They have been decoded and the preliminary results were passed on to us. We now have to analyze the data. We cannot give any details now, as everything has to be matched up first," Bekturov said. He reminded that the information received from the recorders was being processed by the Interstate Aviation Commission in Moscow and by the security service in Canada.

"We hope that we will solve this puzzle in the nearest time," Bekturov said and added that in Canada an average period for plane crash investigation was 450 days.

According to the Vice-Minister the pilot-in-chief Vladimir Yevdokimov was authorized to land the plane at the visibility of at least 300m, but at the moment of the accident the visibility was 200m.

"He was waiting for a 300 meter visibility, that's why he did not land. He did not want to violate the rules. Yevdokimov was allowed to land the plane at 300 meters visibility. The pilot hoped and waited for the weather to clear up, repeatedly requested information on the visibility from the dispatchers, but every time the dispatchers told him the visibility was below the landing margin. Going for the second round he kept hopingthat it would get better. It sometimes happens that the weather clears up for several minutes opening a landing window. It also happens that it does not clear up for hours and a plane has to keep making rounds hoping to land. This is what happened in Yevdokimov's case," Bekturov explained.

He said that the pilot asked about the visibility several times, but it never reached the desired 300m level.

"Basically, he could land, but did not want to violate the rules and his words were: "I am going for the second". This is the extract phrase from the recorded conversations that we listened to," the Vice-Minister said.

He noted that the pilot could be suspended from flying if he took a decision to land at visibility below the permitted level.

He once again reminded that Almaty airport has IIIB category, i.e. it is able to accept aircrafts at extremely bad weather conditions. "One can land almost blindly," he said.

Bekturov also refuted the version of fuel deficit in the plane.

"At the moment of crash there was fuel enough for 2.5 more hours of flight. That means that the plane could fly back to Kokshetau or to one of the reserve airport in Shymkent, Karaganda or Astana. Aircrafts normally have reserve fuel enough to fly to any of these reserve airports in case of bad weather. There should be no doubts here. It is confirmed by the filling data from Kokshetau and the conversations between the crew and the dispatcher, where the pilot tells about the remaining fuel. Plus there is still a very strong smell of jet fuel and a big spot of spilled fuel at the crash site," he said.

He also explained why there was no fire or explosion at the accident site.

"There was no fire because the plane crashed into the ground cockpit first. NLG (nose landing gear) was the first part to hit the ground and a crater formed around it. The cockpit came into the ground at the angle of 19 degrees and remained there still. The plane rolled when falling. The landing speed was 240km/h. This plane has tail jets. So the engines are placed quite far from the wings, where fuel tanks are. The engines and the wings did not come in contact with each other during the crash. Normally the planes go on fire and explode when a spark reaches the jet fuel. There was a lot of fuel in the wings, but there was no spark that could set this fuel on fire," he explained.

Speaking of the CRJ-200 aircrafts in general, he noted that those were good planes used all over the world.

"We made a request about CRJ-200 planes and their accident history. These planes used to crash in the U.S., Canada, Australia and China," the Vice-Minister said noting that this aircraft was very reliable. "It is used around the world, there are thousands of them and it shows good results. It is manufactured in Canada and this country is close to our climatic conditions." Bekturov reminded that it was the first crash of a regular flight plane in the history of independent Kazakhstan. In his opinion, the air transport currently remains the safest transport.

Besides Kazakhstan experts, the commission investigating the plane crash near Almaty includes experts from Canada, the U.S., Georgia, Belarus and Russia.

On January 29 a Bombardier airplane owned by Scat airline crashed 7km from Almaty airport during its second attempt to land. According to the prosecutors, the plane was performing a Kokshetau-Almaty flight. The accident claimed lives of 5 crew members and 16 passengers including a 2-year-old boy.


By Renat Tashkinbayev

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