Moscow: Russian authorities Wednesday said pilot error could be the cause for the air crash in Karelia region even as the death toll climbed to 45 after a 9-year-old boy succumbed to injuries.
A Tu-134 plane belonging to the Rus-Air airlines, flying from Moscow to the Karelian republic’s capital Petrozavodsk, crash landed yesterday on a highway and burst into flames in heavy fog as the pilot mistook it for the runway.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting chaired by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Transport Minister Igor Levitin said the ill-fated aircraft with 52 passengers was landing at night in “complex weather conditions”.
“According to the preliminary probe the plane hit the tree tops in the area of closer landing beacon about 1-km from the runway and 200 meters left of the axis of runway,” Levitin was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.
Local agency reports suggested there is growing belief that poor weather and pilot error were the twin causes of the accident, which saw a Tu-134 aircraft crash land.
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who oversees transportation in the government, said preliminary data suggested that fog confused the pilot as he attempted to land, causing him to hit the power lines.
Ivanov said the flight crew could not get a visual guide into the runway, similar to the cause of the April 10, 2010 disaster when a Tu-154 plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed into trees on approach to Smolensk airfield.