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Russian Defense Ministry plane crashes in Yakutia Local news agencies report that people died in the plane crash, but it soon turns out that everyone has survived

Photo: Yevgeny Lebedev / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

An IL-18 Russian Ministry Defense plane flying soldiers to the village of Tiksi crashed in Yakutia on Monday. Initially, Russian news agencies had reported that nearly everyone on board had died, but then it became known that everyone survived in an emergency landing. Meduza reports on an important accident in Yakutia.

The plane fell 30 kilometers away from the village of Tiksi on the morning of December 19. On board were military pilots from Sverdlovsk regional air defense units. The plane had embarked at the Tiksi Kansk airfield in the Krasnoyarsk region and disappeared from radar during landing.

Initially, Russia’s three main news agencies had reported that almost everyone on board had died. TASS, Interfax, and RIA Novosti quoted unnamed sources in local emergency services. It was alleged that the fall plane had broken into three parts and that, of the 39 people on board, only four to six survived, according to various estimates.

Later, witnesses reported that the plane remained intact (judging by the photographs, the fuselage broke in two places), and the Defense Ministry was denying information about victims.

All passengers and crew members aboard the IL-18 have survived, though they remain in serious condition. On board were seven crew members and 31 passengers. Four of the victims are in critical condition. The, Defense Ministry sent a IL-76 plane to Yakutia to transport the victims to hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The cause of the accident has yet to be named. According to TASS, weather conditions were good at the time of landing, but the pilot could have made a mistake in assessing the plane’s altitude during landing. Sources cited by Interfax mentioned possible problems in the plane’s fuel system. Another reason could have been a strong side wind. Both black boxes have been found and will be examined.