By David Kaminski-Morrow in London
Media comparisons with Toronto overrun dismissed by head of air navigation service
Russia's federal air navigation service chief has detailed the timeline of last month's fatal S7 Airlines Airbus A310 runway overrun, to refute suggestions that the emergency services' response to the accident was not quick enough.
While 79 of those on board survived the 9 July overrun at Irkutsk, another 124 occupants - including both pilots - did not, and the high death toll has prompted queries in the Russian media about the time it took airport rescue services to reach the scene.
Comparisons have been drawn with the overrun of an Air France Airbus A340 in Toronto a year ago, during which all 309 passengers and crew evacuated the jet and survived despite the aircraft's being gutted by fire.
Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) is still conducting an inquiry into the Irkutsk accident. But the head of the federal air navigation service, Alexander Neradko, has publicly dismissed suggestions that there was a delay in responding to the crash.
He says data shows that, 49s after the A310-300 touched down, the approach controller notified a senior air traffic control officer that the aircraft had continued rolling to the end of the runway.
A second notification from the approach controller, 9s later, stated that the aircraft was crossing the overrun area. The aircraft collided with structures 2s afterwards, and 1min after touchdown.
Within 30s of the collision the alarm had been raised, says Neradko, with details transmitted about the aircraft type and its location and the taxi controller informed the senior air traffic officer that firefighters were at the scene 3min 45s after the accident.
Neradko suggests that indications of a longer response time arise from confusion over the baseline clock times used by air traffic control, the airport authorities and the Russian emergency situations ministry.
MAK has yet to disclose details about the circumstances of the accident and the efforts to evacuate the passengers and crew. The investigation agency is receiving external assistance from its French and US counterparts, as well as Airbus and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.
Source: Flight International