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Saturday, December 6, 1997 Published at 12:26 GMT

Background: Features

Catalogue of disasters
image: [ Antonov 124: One of the largest planes in the world ]
Antonov 124: One of the largest planes in the world

The crash of a huge Russian military cargo plane in Siberia with heavy loss of life is one of the country's worst air crashes.

It is the latest in a long series of crashes involving former Soviet aircraft.

The surge in accidents is generally attributed to cash shortages which lower already poor maintenance standards and places extra pressure on air crews.

The former Soviet air fleet has been plagued by chronic safety problems since the 1991 collapse of the union and the breakup of the former state airline Aeroflot into some 400 companies.

There has been a succession of major air crashes in Russia in recent years:

  • June 17 1993: All 24 passengers and crew were killed when an Antonov-26 crashed north of Tbilisi.
  • August 26 1993: 24 people were killed when a passenger aircraft crashes on landing in the Siberian territory of Yakutia.
  • August 28 1993: 76 people died when a Yak-40 passenger plane crashed into a river in a remote part of Tajikistan shortly after take off.
  • December 26 1993: At least 35 people died when their An-24 plane crashes in western Armenia.
  • January 3 1994: All 124 people on board a Russian Tupolev-154 plane were killed when it crashes in Siberia, as well as a farmer on the ground.
  • March 23 1994: A half-empty Airbus A-310 belonging to Russian state international airline Aeroflot crashed near Novokuznetsk, killing 70 people.
  • September 26 1994: A Russian Yak-40 airliner crashed while trying to reach an airport in Siberia to make an emergency landing in bad weather, killing all 26 people on board.
  • October 29 1994: 21 people died when an Antonov An-12 cargo plane crashes on approach near the airport of Ust-Ilimsk, north of the Siberian city of Irkutsk.
  • April 8 1995: An Il-76 plane crashed on the slopes of a volcano just before it is due to land at the regional capital of the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula, killing all 14 people on board.
  • June 16 1995: At least 12 people were killed when their Antonov An-2 single-engined propeller plane crashed in bad weather in Russia's Far East.
  • December 7 1995: A Tu-154 with 97 people aboard disappeared en route to the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk.
  • August 29 1996: A Tu-154 passenger plane carrying Russian and Ukrainian miners and their families to work on Norway's Arctic island of Spitzbergen crashed into a mountaintop, killing all 143 people on board.
  • November 14 1996: 13 people were killed when an antiquated Antonov An-2 biplane crashed in the semi-autonomous region of Komi in northern Russia.
  • November 28 1996: A Russian air force Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane crashed in Siberia, killing all 23 people on board.
  • December 17 1996: 17 people including commander of the Leningrad military district were killed when their military plane, an Antonov-12, crashed at an airfield near the city of Pskov in northwestern Russia.
  • March 18 1997: 50 passengers and crew died when tail of their An-24 charter plane broke off in mid-air while en route for Turkey.

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