PASSENGERS AND CREW
Sixty-five passengers were on board the plane, along with six crew. Later on Sunday, the Emergencies Ministry published the full list of all 71 people killed in the crash. Among them were three children and three foreigners, reportedly citizens of Switzerland, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Later, the airline said the captain on the ill-fated flight, Valery Gubanov, was an experienced pilot who had accumulated 5,000 flight hours.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF CRASH
It is premature to say what caused the crash and investigators say they have not yet pinpointed a single version of events. The debris and dead bodies are scattered over a wide area, and rescue efforts are complicated by the snowfall and strong winds that have gripped the Moscow region this Sunday.
Later in the day, a flight recorder with the plane’s flight parameters has been found at the An-148’s crash site, the emergency operational headquarters has said. Preliminary reports indicate the pilots did not report any technical failures, nor did they activate a mayday call, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.
A number of Russian agencies will probe the airline’s safety and maintenance standards, as well as the operations of Domodedovo air traffic control. Observers say every investigation of such a tragedy should focus on three main issues.
“You know, we’re dealing with the weather, we’re dealing with the crew, what was their training like, did they have enough rest before … sadly, in today’s world, we’re going to be listening and looking for anything that could’ve been a threat of terrorism on board,” Mark Weiss, former American Airlines captain and aviation expert, told RT.
He said investigating the role of weather conditions and de-icing is equally crucial. “Pilots are trained to deal with crises, and every take-off is predicated on some type of catastrophic event … so what [the investigators] are going to be looking for is certainly the weather factor [and] was the airplane properly de-iced,” Weiss said.
The crash might have been caused by weather conditions, human error or technical failure, according to TASS, citing an emergency source. However, the source said there were no extreme weather conditions in the Moscow region at the time.