16 killed Russia as skydiver plane crashes

Russian authorities have launched a criminal investigation into possible health and safety breaches after 16 people were killed and six injured in a plane crash in Tatarstan

Sixteen people were killed and six injured as a plane carrying a group of parachute jumpers crashed after take off in Russia.

The aircraft’s wing struck a van as pilots attempted an emergency landing after one of its engines failed, causing the plane to flip over.

Two crew members were on board as well as 20 parachutists. Six survivors were left in a serious condition, the eastern European country’s Health Ministry said.

The governor of Tatarstan, a region in southwest Russia, said that the plane’s pilots reported that its left wing failed at a height of 70 metres and that they attempted to land near the city of Menzelinsk.

Although the pilots turned leftwards to try to avoid an inhabited area, the plane’s wing hit a Gazelle vehicle which caused it to overturn, Rustam Minnikhanov said.

The Investigative Committee, the Russian government’s main investigating authority, said that it had opened an investigation into a suspected violation of safety regulations.

The Menzelinsk aeroclub who owned the L-410 Turbolet aircraft declined to comment on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

The state-run Cosmonaut Training Centre has suspended its ties with the club pending investigation, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

TASS also report that the Russian Army, Air Force and Navy Volunteer Society have suspended all flights of L-410 planes until the investigation is complete.

Although safety standards have been tightened in recent years, aviation accidents continue to happen in Russia and particularly in remote areas.

In July, 28 people died as an AN-26 crashed in the Kamchatka peninsula. The following month, a helicopter with 16 people on board crashed in the same area, resulting in multiple casualties.

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