Russian Government ministers disagree over cause of Irkutsk tragedy in which 145 died

Initial claims that the Vladivostok Avia Tupolev Tu-154M that crashed in Irkutsk, south eastern Russia, last week had suffered a complete power loss were being denied as Flight International closed for press.


The trijet crashed at 0210L on 4 July while operating a service from Yekaterinburg to Vladivostok on Russia's east coast with 136 passengers and nine crew. Although early reports suggested that the aircraft was on its third attempt to land as it approached Irkutsk for a refuelling stop, it is believed that the Tu-154 was, in fact, on the base leg of its first approach, with its last reported altitude being 2,800ft (850m). It crashed 32km (17nm) from Irkutsk airport, killing all on board.

The wreckage was highly fragmented but the crash site was relatively contained suggesting little forward speed. Photographs of the crash site indicate that there was a fire. Shortly after the crash, Russia's emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu said that there were indications that the aircraft had lost power on all three engines because of fuel starvation. Russia's GSGA incident investigation agency subsequently confirmed that all three engines had failed.

However, this was later categorically denied by Russia's deputy prime minister, who added that the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were being sent to Moscow for analysis.

The 15-year-old Tu-154 (RA-85845) had recently been purchased from the China Northwest Airlines and overhauled by Aviakor.

Source: Flight International