A plane crash in Russia’s westernmost region has revealed that the local airport lacks necessary safety equipment.
An Airbus aircraft operated by Russia’s flagship Aeroflot Airline overran the runway at Kaliningrad’s Khrabrovo Airport after the plane’s nose landing gear reportedly gave way. Six passengers were treated for minor injuries.
In the wake of the crash, the airport could not remove the damaged plane from the runway and had to call the Emergency Situations Ministry to do the job.
“The airport simply didn’t have the right equipment,” an unnamed source in the emergency services told the TASS news agency. “In other, more technically-equipped airports, removing a plane with broken nose landing gear would take 40 minutes to three hours.”
Instead, flights at Khrabrovo Airport were halted indefinitely as the emergency services’ struggled to remove the plane. At press time, the airport remained closed.
Equipment was not the only problem. One of the passengers on the crashed plane, which flew in from Moscow, complained in a Facebook post that there was no communication between pilot and passengers, that on-board staff were too frightened to act rationally, and that the airport staff were unprepared or unwilling to assist crash victims.
“There was no one on the airfield who would even pretend to rescue you,” Andrei Zeigarnik wrote. Airport employees seemed more concerned about filling out official documents, and passengers had to find their own transportation home – even though, Zeigarnik wrote, many had likely left their money on the plane. The airline did not even deliver passengers’ bagged to their local address.
The exact cause of the crash at Khrabovo Airport remains unclear.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, Russia ranks second in the world in aviation fatalities after the United States, despite Russia’s comparatively small passenger volumes.