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Sole survivor undergoes surgeries as new details of plane crash in Kazakhstan emerge 22 января 2015, 19:35

The only survivor of the plane crash in Kazakhstan's Zhambyl Oblast Asem Shayakhmetova is undergoing surgeries to her lower limbs, while the CEO of air company whose plane crashed speaks to the journalists.
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Two days ago a plane crashed in Zhambyl Oblast in southern Kazakhstan, killing everyone on board except for a sole survivor – a young woman Asem Shayakhmetova. She was found unconscious among the debris of the plane.

The State Center of air medical services informed that Asem was brought to Astana by air ambulance today, January 22, at 5 am. Her state during the transportation was stable. The woman had fractures of the femur and tibia that caused a lot of blood loss. She was first operated in Zhambyl Oblast where her fractured bones were realigned and got anti-shock treatment. After her condition was stabilized, she was transported by air.

Her current state is stable, according to the head of the Center for Polytrauma and Reconstructive Ortho-Surgery in Astana Ruslan Botayev, Tengrinews reports.

"The patient's condition upon admission was serious but stable. At the moment she is being operated on. Secondary surgical treatment is being performed on wounds in places of open fractures of the lower limbs. After stabilization of the patient’s condition, we will conduct minimally invasive osteosynthesis of the fractures in her lower limbs,” he told the reporters.

According to Botayev, external fixation devices were put onto her left hip and both legs before the transportation.

The doctors promise to put the patient back on her feet in about three weeks. A complete recovery, when the anchors are removed, may take a year. Botayev said that this was the first case in his entire practice when a person survived a plane crash.

The woman’s relatives have taken off to Astana today.

The An-2 airplane crashed in Zhambyl Oblast on January 20 at 3:40 pm, carrying 7 people: four from Kazakhmys mining company and three plane crew members. The plane of Olymp Air LLP was hired by Kazakhmys to make a flyover of its mines in Zhambyl Oblast. The plane took off from Balkhash town and crashed near Shatyrkol mine.

Investigation is currently underway but according to preliminary information, the plane was landing in poor visibility and collided with the ground.

Were there other factors involved?

The CEO of the Olymp Air Vladimir Krucha spoke about the plane’s condition to Novyi Vestnik, claiming the plane was in a perfect state.

"An-2 was released in 1973. But these An-2 planes have stayed idle for a long time due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. This plane stood idle. In 2002, the plane was renovated at the Aktobe plant. Its total number of flying hours was very small,” he said.

“Its service life is 20,000 flying hours. But it did have very many flying hours. The plane was technically sound. There is no doubt about it. It was well-maintained by the engineering staff. Every year we have received a certificate of airworthiness. The certificate of this plane was ending in June this year," Krucha said.

According to the Civil Aviation Committee of the Ministry of Investment and Development, the plane had flown 13,080 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 committee said.

The Antonov An-2 is a single-engine biplane utility/agricultural aircraft designed and manufactured by the Antonov Design Bureau since 1946. 

The An-2 is used as a light utility transport, parachute drop aircraft, agricultural work and many other tasks suited to this large slow-flying biplane. Its slow flight and good field performance make it suited for short, unimproved fields.

As of 2013, there were thousands of An-2 still in operation around the world, including 294 in Kazakhstan. As of April 2, 2013 there have been 410 hull-loss accidents of An-2, claiming a total of 480 human lives worldwide.

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina (Aidana Usupova and Renat Tashkinbayev contributed to the story)

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