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Sole survivor in Zhambyl Oblast plane crash regains consciousness

22 january 2015, 01:09
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The only survivor in the crash of the AN-2 in Zhambyl Oblast has regained consciousness, Tengrinews correspondent reports from the Intensive Care Unit of Shu town hospital.

The woman is A.A. Shayakhmetova, Chief Geologist of BakhashTsvetMet Operating Department, born in 1986. Found alive, she was in a severe condition, with a pelvic fracture, broken legs and ribs, multiple injuries and a brain concussion.

The doctors assess the woman’s conditions as serious but stable. She was diagnosed with fractures of the femur and tibia, which is why she has lost lots of blood. She is receiving an anti-shock therapy. The doctors say the woman will have to undergo two surgeries. A group of doctors has arrived from Astana, they will meet to decide what to do next.

The AN-2 airplane crashed in Zhambyl Oblast on January 20 at 3:40 pm. The plane was carrying 7 people: four from Kazakhmys mining company and three plane crew members. The crash site was located at 5 pm.

The plane of Olymp Air LLP was hired by Kazakhmys company to make a flyover of its mines in Zhambyl Oblast. The plane took off from Balkhash town and was heading towards Shaturkul mine. The tragedy occurred near Shatyrkol mine, located not far from Satgul Lake in Shu region 300 km away from Taraz and about 60 km away from Shu town when the airplane was approaching to land. 

Three employees of Kazakhmys company who died are: Director of the Technical Development Department of Kazakhmys G.T. Tleubayev, Chief Mechanic of BakhashTsvetMet Operating Department E.B. Ibrayev, and Head of the Department for Technical and Investment Planning of BakhashTsvetMet Operating Department U.Kh. Yesmaganbetova. The three deceased crew members are: Command pilot V.G. Klyushov, Second pilot V.P. Savelyev, and Flight engineer V.I. Litvinov.

The company expressed condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the plane crash.

According to the press service of Emergency Situations Committee of the Ministry of Interior, fog might be responsible for the tragedy.

Preliminary data shows that the plane was landing in poor visibility because of the fog and collided with the ground.

Rescue teams of the Department of Emergency Situations of Karaganda and Zhambyl Oblasts,  as well as the security service of Kazakhmys were first to arrive at the scene.

The investigation of the crash is led by an operational investigative group of the Deparment of Internal Affairs of Zhambyl Oblast.

A special group from among the employees of akimat (Governor’s office) of Karaganda Oblast and employees of Kazakhmys was created to organize the funeral of those killed in the crash and provide psychological assistance to relatives of the victims.

"We are in contact with their families, they are being assisted,” said Nurmukhambet Abdibekov, Akim of Karaganda Oblast, at a press conference on January 21. “All those killed are our countrymen, five of them are from Karaganda and one - from Zhezkazgan."

"We extend our sincere condolences to the bereaved families. We hope that the recovery of the survivor in this tragedy will be swift. On our part, we have created a commission to organize the funeral and to provide all assistance to the families. I want to say that we will not abandon our fellow countrymen,” said Abdibekov as quoted by IA Novosti-Kazakhstan.

At the press conference it became known that Olymp Air owns five planes in Karaganda Oblast and has been carrying out private operations since 2001.

The flying certificate of the plane that crashed was until June 2015, the press service of the Civil Aviation Committee of the Ministry of Investment and Development said. According to the Committee, the crashed airplane was released on August 20, 1973. The plane had an overall of 13,080 flight hours, while the lifetime maximum for this type of aircraft is 20,000 flight hours.

"Certification examination of the aircraft by inspectors of the Civil Aviation Committee of the Ministry of Investment and Development was held in June 2014. The results of inspection allowed the aircraft to continue flight operations. The certificate of airworthiness of the aircraft AN-2 is valid until 10 June 2015. The certificate to perform aviation services is valid until December 26, 2017. The plane had the registration number UP-A0314 (serial number 1G14970). The aircraft was included in the State Register of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of August 28, 2009," the press service said.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, transport police of Shu station initiated a pre-trial investigation under the article "Violation of safety or operation rules of air transport." The case was passed for investigation to the special prosecutor’s office of the Main Transport Prosecutor's Office overseeing Zhambyl Oblast.

Additionally, a decision was made to establish a governmental commission to investigate the causes of the crash. It will be headed by First Vice-Minister for Investment and Development Zhenis Kasymbek. The commission also comprises the Vice-Minister of Health and Social Development Daulet Argandykov, the main transport prosecutor Ibrahim Tleugaliyev, and representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Akimat of Zhambyl Oblast.

As investigation groups conduct their work, some preliminary versions of what happened that day are being presented already. Aviation specialist, colonel Valery Steshenko believes that it was not only bad weather that caused the crash of AN-2.

"Aviation accidents usually don’t occur solely because of one factor. Often disasters happen when all factors add up. Weather is usually the main reason, but maybe there was something else too," he says in an interview to IA Novosti-Kazakhstan.

According to him, that at this time of the year, weather conditions in Zhambyl Oblast are volatile, so most likely there was an abrupt  change of weather when the plane was landing.

"Usually air traffic control services provide short-term and long-term weather forecasts for the captain. It is for the captain to evaluate the data and decide on whether to take off. I guess that at the time of the departure the weather was suitable. But then it changed," the colonel suggested.

He added that when weather changes the captain needs to decide whether to return, to land or to choose alternative landing fields. Steshenko doubted the crash had much to do with the plane’s health.

"The state of an aircraft is assessed prior to each flight. In addition, pre-flight preparations are being conducted and ground services, engineering and technical staff perform a check of the entire vessel, including propulsion system. Only after these, it is being decided whether to take off. I think that if any problems were found, the aircraft would not have taken off," the expert concludes.

These are only speculations. Hopefully, after her recovery the sole survivor will help find out what happened that tragic day.

By Dinara Urazova


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