S7 Airlines Flight 778
|Date||9 July 2006|
|Summary||Landing accident, pilot error|
|Aircraft type||Airbus A310-324ET|
|Flight origin||Domodedovo International Airport|
|Destination||Irkutsk International Airport|
S7 Airlines Flight 778 (RU778 or SBI778) was an Airbus A310-300 passenger flight en route from Moscow to Irkutsk when it crashed upon landing at Irkutsk International Airport at 07:44 local time on 9 July 2006 (8 July, 22:44 UTC). The plane overshot the runway, sliding over several hundred metres of wet runway and grass. It crashed through a concrete barricade, hit a group of private garages and burst into flames. Television pictures showed smoking ruins of the Airbus with only the tail section intact. It took two hours for local firefighters from five different fire stations to extinguish the blaze.
There were 195 passengers and 8 crew members aboard. 75 passengers and 3 flight attendants survived the crash, leaving 125 dead. Nearly 60 people were taken to a hospital, some with critical injuries, but others managed to escape with few injuries and 15 were able to continue their journeys. Some survivors said they owed their lives to a flight attendant who managed to open the emergency exit in the rear of the aircraft.
A spokeswoman for the ITAR-Tass news agency in Russia, Irina Andrianova said "The aircraft veered off the runway on landing. It was travelling at a terrific speed."
The agency also reported that many children were among the passengers who were flying to a holiday on Lake Baikal, near Irkutsk, about 4,200 kilometres (2,600 mi) east of Moscow. Besides Russian citizens, who were the majority of passengers, there were also 2 Polish tourists traveling to Mongolia via Irkutsk. Having been in the tail section, they managed to escape the plane unassisted, one injuring a leg. There were 12 other non-Russians on board, 3 from China, 3 from Belarus and 2 each from Germany, Moldavia, and South Korea.
Among the dead were Sergey Koryakov, regional head of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), and Mariya Rasputina, daughter of writer Valentin Rasputin.
News agencies reported Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin as saying the pilots advised air traffic controllers they had landed successfully, but that radio contact then broke off suddenly. Speaking before flying from Moscow to Irkutsk, Levitin was also quoted as saying the runway was wet after rain.
Causes of the accident
Airbus said the aircraft involved in the accident had registered number F-OGYP, previously N812PA and MSN (Manufacturer Serial Number) 442. It was delivered new in June 1987 to Pan American World Airways and later to Delta Air Lines after Pan Am's bankruptcy in 1991. Prior to service in S7, Airbus Industrie and Aeroflot had flown the aircraft. It had accumulated more than 52,000 flight hours in more than 10,000 flights. It was powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4152 engines.
According to Airbus, the aircraft was properly maintained. The most recent A Check, or maintenance check, on the aircraft was on 1 June 2006, Sibir said. A C Check, which involves a more thorough overhaul, was carried out 12 July 2005 in Frankfurt.
According to the final results of the investigation, the accident was not caused by the left engine thrust reverser's non-deployment due to a Minimum Equipment List (MEL) authorized reverser deactivation – The thrust reverser in question was inoperative in line with MEL requirements prior to the accident.
When the pilot slowed down the plane by using wheel braking and deploying the righthand engine thrust reverser, the lefthand engine thrust lever was inadvertently advanced, causing the plane not to decelerate as per a normal landing. The crew was unaware the thrust lever had been inadvertently advanced until late in the accident cycle. The aircraft veered off the runway and hit a concrete barricade at the speed of approximately 100 km/h (62 mph).
A preliminary report was issued by the Russian MAK the week of 25 September 2006, blaming the accident on pilot error, and finding that there was no problem with the engines or the aircraft.
The English translation of the accident final report, on page 115, stated the following conclusion:
INTERSTATE AVIATION COMMITTEE
FINAL REPORT ON THE RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT, page 115
The cause of Sibir A-310 F-OGYP accident was the erroneous and uncontrolled actions by the crew during rollout after landing in a configuration with one engine reverser deactivated. After touchdown, the Captain, while acting on the reverse thrust lever of the right engine, inadvertently and uncontrollably moved the throttle lever for the left engine, whose thrust reverser was deactivated, from the "idle" to the significant forward thrust position. Inadequate monitoring and call-outs of airplane speed and engine parameters by the Co-pilot made it impossible for the crew to perform the necessary actions, either by moving the left throttle back to idle or shutting down the engines. The crew had enough time to recognize the situation.
- "Reports: Brake failure may have led to crash". NBCNews.com. Associated Press. 9 July 2006.
- Final accident investigation report (English translation, hosted by BEA), section 1.1 "History of the flight", page 10.
- Рейс 778 Москва - Иркутск (in Russian). 14 July 2006. Archived from the original on 18 July 2006.
- Final accident investigation report (English translation, hosted by BEA), section 1.2 "Injuries to persons", page 11.
- "Dwoje Polaków przeżyło katastrofę rosyjskiego samolotu". Wirtualna Polska – Wiadomości (in Polish). Retrieved 9 July 2006.
- "Siberian Aircraft Crushed on Land". Kommersant. Retrieved 11 July 2006.
- "Sibir Airbus Crashes in Russia, Killing at Least 122 (Update2)". Bloomberg. 9 July 2006.
- English translation of the final accident report
- Final accident investigation report (Archive) – Interstate Aviation Committee – English translation done by and hosted by the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA).
- Investigation and final report – Interstate Aviation Committee (Archive) (Russian)
- Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile
- "Accident in Irkutsk on 11 july 2006." (Archive)
- S7 Airlines notice about the accident
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network