71 Dead After Russian Airliner Crashes After Takeoff

2017 was the safest year on record for commercial aviation, as we didn’t see a single commercial passenger jet crash anywhere in the world (we did see some props crash and some cargo jets crash, but no passenger jets). Aviation has been one of the safest forms of transport for decades, though last year was especially safe.

Unfortunately 2018 won’t maintain that same record, as a seven year old Saratov Airlines Antonov AN-148 crashed today near the village of Argunovo, about 60 miles southeast of Moscow.

The plane took off from runway 14R at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, and is believed to have crashed about 5-6 minutes later, as it was beginning the ~900 mile flight to Orsk. All 71 people onboard, including the 65 passengers and six crew, are feared to be dead.

Data suggests that the plane descended from 6,200 feet (the highest altitude it reached) to 3,200 feet during the last minute before the signal was lost, and at the time the signal was lost it was descending at a rate of 22,000 feet per minute. Per CNN:

“The snow is very dense … the Moscow region has had some of its heaviest snowfall in decades,” CNN’s Matthew Chance reported from Moscow. “It’s not clear at this stage whether weather was factor in this crash.”

While the cause of the crash remains uncertain, the Investigative Committee of Russia said officials have launched a criminal investigation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the creation of a “special commission in connection with the plane crash,” said
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to Tass.

“The President also expresses deep condolences to all those who lost relatives and friends in this disaster.”

No cause of the crash has been revealed so far, though I’m sure investigators will learn a lot more over the coming hours and days. In the meantime, my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who were onboard. How awful…

(Featured image courtesy of Anna Zvereva)


  1. Although it would have lasted only 5-6 seconds. Mercifully short. Unless it broke up mid air. Probably the plane couldn’t withstand those forces.

  2. Very sorry to hear this. 22K feet/ min is a ridiculously insane steep rate of descent. Can’t imagine what that must have been like for the passengers and crew on board. Here’s to hopefully no more commercial aviation casualties for the rest of 2018. Curious to learn what the cause was.

  3. Your information re it’s plunge is incorrect. According to the BBC: Flight-tracking site Flightradar24 said it then descended at the rate of 1,000m (3,300ft) per minute.

    Regardless, it’s an awful tragedy and hopefully a cause is quickly established.

  4. @Lucky, please delete @Sexy_kitten7’s post. Not appropriate no matter how you feel about the current occupant.

  5. I don’t think icing was an issue here. It never would have attained 6,000 feet, let alone gotten off the ground with just an icing problem. Latest reports describe an engine “exploding”, though this alone on a Boeing or Airbus manufactured aircraft should not have been enough to bring a plane down. Planes are designed to fly if one engine fails, even with uncontained engine failure. There are many published reports of problems in Russian aircraft design, build and maintenance, as well as safety protocol issues with this particular airline. Only time will what the ultimate cause was, and while early reports seem to be discounting the risk of terrorism, that too must be ruled out.

  6. According to Chinese web sites, rescuers have found a wreckage of a helicopter belongs to Russian Postal Service at the crash site and investigators are probing the possibilities of a mid-air collision between the two aircraft.

  7. But WHO was on the flight? When opposition candidates are murdered in the capital city for running for the highest offices in the land….what gives?
    The Russian people need a democracy.

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