Second black box found at An-12 crash site in Kolyma

MAGADAN, August 11 (Itar-Tass) — Rescuers of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) on Thursday have found a second “black box” at the Antonov An-12 plane crash site. The flight recorder was found not far from the crashed plane head of the EMERCOM main department for the Magadan region Sergei Zheltov said.

On Wednesday, rescuers found the first on-board recorder – a parametric recorder, recording the work of all aircraft systems.

Both “black boxes” will be transferred to specialists of the Interstate Aviation Committee, the committee of which has already gone to the An-12 crash site.

About 20 specialists of the Far East transport investigation department arrived on Magadan on Thursday. The group is headed by the department’s deputy head Alexander Demin. Currently, the investigators are questioning employees of aviation services of Magadan airport.

The headquarters of the investigation group is located in the Omsukchan settlement – the nearest populated locality to the crash site. Investigators are to carefully examine the whole area, to fix the location and condition of the structural elements of the aircraft. Together with forensic medical experts they will examine the bodies of the killed.

The plane, which was carrying 11 people, as well as about 17 tonnes of cargo, flew on August 9 from Magadan to the Chukchi settlement of Keperveyem. An hour later, one of the An-12 four engines caught fire. After the crew commander reported to air traffic controllers that the plane was going to return to Magadan, the communication with the plane was disrupted. On August 10, the airliner’s wreckage was found 70 kilometres from Omsukchan.

All the aboard the plane were killed in the crash. According to Russian Investigative Committee (SK), they are the six crewmembers (workers of the airline, all residents of Komsomolsk-on-Amur), two technicians from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, two passengers – residents of Chukotka and one instructor from Sakhalin.

The Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) earlier said that “a Mi-8 helicopter of the Federal Air Transport Agency has found the crash area of the An-12 plane 82 kilometres away from the settlement of Onsukchan.”

The Antonov An-12 of the Khabarovsk-based Avis-Amur airline on August 9 was flying from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to the Chukchi village of Keperveyem. According to the latest reports, there were 11 people onboard the plane, including six crewmembers, two technicians from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, an instructor from Sakhalin, and two residents of the Chukotka autonomous area who were accompanying a commercial cargo. After refuelling and taking off in Magadan, the commander of the aircraft at 16:39, local time (07:39 a.m. Moscow time) reported to air traffic controllers that the plane had a fuel leak and a fire in the engine in the area of the Juliet gold mine in the Omsukchan district of the Magadan Region. After some time, communication with the crew was lost, and the aircraft disappeared from radar screens.

Shortly after the supposed crash, an emergency beacon of the An-12 transmitted a signal near the village of Omsukchan 560 kilometres from Magadan that was received by satellites, but then the signal disappeared. The search and rescue operation was complicated by low clouds and rain. Rescuers failed to find the liner before dark.

Criminal proceedings have been initiated on charges of violations of air traffic safety rules.

The missing An-12 (hull No. RA-11125) was manufactured some 50 years ago by the Tashkent-based Chkalov aviation enterprise. It made its maiden flight in 1963. The Avis-Amur airline leased the ill-fated plane. The Federal Air Transport Agency has launched a probe into the plane’s readiness for the flight and the crew’s skills.

The Antonov An-12 (NATO reporting name: Cub) is a four-engine turboprop transport aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It is the military version of the Antonov An-10. The first prototype flew in December 1957. Over 900 had been built, in both military and civilian versions, before production finally ended in 1973. The An-12BP entered Soviet military service in 1959. In terms of configuration, size and capability, the aircraft is similar to the United States-built Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Military Soviet and former-Soviet examples have a defensive tail gun turret. In August 2006 a total of 179 Antonov An-12 aircraft remained in airline service. Major operators include: Air Guinee (4), Alada (5), British Gulf International Airlines (7), Avial Aviation (4), Heli Air Service (4), Scorpion Air (4), Tiramavia (4), Aerovis Airlines (5), Veteran Airlines (4), KNAAPO (5), Vega Airlines (6) ATRAN Cargo Airlines (4) and Volare Airlines (6). Some 77 other airlines operate smaller numbers of the type.

After this disaster the Russian Federal Agency for Transport Supervision (Rostransnadzor) suspended operation of An-12 planes in Russia.

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