Russia Crash Investigation

In this Monday, May 6, 2019 file photo, the Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft of Aeroflot Airlines is seen after making an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow, Russia. A preliminary probe into last month’s crash of a Russian passenger jet that left 41 dead says the plane had excessive landing speed. The report released Friday, June 14 by the Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee that investigates crashes in Russia and other ex-Soviet nations says that the Sukhoi SSJ100 had a speed of 196 mph just before touchdown instead of the required 178 mph. 

MOSCOW (AP) — A preliminary probe into last month’s crash of a Russian passenger jet that left 41 dead has found the plane was going at an excessive speed when it made an emergency landing.

The report released Friday by the Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee that investigates crashes in Russia and other ex-Soviet nations said that the Sukhoi SSJ100 had a speed of 196 mph just before touchdown instead of the required 178 mph.

The plane that belonged to the Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot was struck by lightning shortly after it had taken off from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on May 5 and was landing heavy with unburned fuel when it made a rough touchdown, igniting a fire that killed 41 of the 78 people aboard.

The lightning strike knocked out the plane’s autopilot, forcing the pilots to go manual. The crew also had communications problems, its request for permission to circle the airport to burn excessive fuel before landing left unheard by traffic controllers.

Landing with excessive weight and higher than normal speed, the plane touched down hard, jumping up twice, breaking its landing gear and setting its fuel tanks ablaze. Most of those who died were in the rear section of the plane, which was instantly engulfed by flames.

The committee stopped short of directly blaming the pilots for the crash, saying additional investigation is needed to judge the crew’s action.

The crash hurt Aeroflot’s image and also raised doubts about the safety of the SSJ100 that entered service a few years ago and was touted as a state-of-the-art design.

Minister for Trade and Industries Denis Manturov emphasized Friday that the preliminary crash report confirmed that all plane systems operated normally, the autopilot incapacitated by lightning being the sole exception.

In other news

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — As lights turned back on across Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay after a massive blackout that hit tens of millions people, authorities were still largely in the dark about what caused the collapse of the interconnected grid and were tallying the damage from the…

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days, the spokesman for the country’s atomic agency said Monday while also warning that Iran could enrich uranium up to 20% — just a step away from weapons-grade levels.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. military released a video Friday it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, suggesting Tehran wanted to hide evidence of its alleged involvement.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz were damaged in suspected attacks on Thursday, leaving one ablaze and the other adrift and forcing sailors to evacuate in the latest mysterious incident involving tankers amid heightened tensions between t…

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe landed Wednesday in Tehran on a mission to ease tensions between the U.S. and Iran, just hours after Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen launched an attack on an airport in Saudi Arabia, wounding 26 people.

KASINDI, Congo (AP) — A 5-year-old boy vomiting blood became the first cross-border victim of Ebola in the current outbreak on Wednesday, while two more people in Uganda tested positive for the highly contagious disease that has killed nearly 1,400 in Congo.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trip to Tehran represents the highest-level effort yet to de-escalate tensions between the U.S. and Iran as the country appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers that America earlier abandoned.