Siberia Airlines Flight 1812
|Date||4 October 2001|
|Summary||mid-air destruction of unknown cause|
|Aircraft type||Tupolev Tu-154M|
|Flight origin||Ben Gurion Int'l Airport
Tel Aviv, Israel
|Destination||Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport
Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 crashed over the Black Sea on 4 October 2001, en route from Tel Aviv, Israel to Novosibirsk, Russia. The plane, a Soviet-made Tupolev Tu-154, carried an estimated 66 passengers and 12 crew members. No one on board survived. The crash site is some 190 km west-southwest of the Black Sea resort of Sochi and 140 km north of the Turkish coastal town of Fatsa and 350 km east-southeast of Feodosiya, Ukraine.
The Russian ground control center in Sochi suddenly lost contact with the airliner. Soon afterward, the pilot of an Armenian plane crossing the sea nearby reported seeing the Russian plane explode before it crashed into the sea about 1:45 PM Moscow time (9:45 AM GMT).
Alleged missile accident
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
Occurring less than a month after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the crash was initially thought[who?] to be an act of terrorism. Nicholas Esterhazy, in an editorial in the Johns Hopkins Newsletter, speculated that, while Israeli and Russian intelligence[who?] immediately suspected a terrorist attack, Central Intelligence Agency reported that the crash was due to an errant S-200 surface to air missile[clarification needed] fired as part of a Ukrainian Air Defense Forces exercise staged off Cape Onuk (or Chuluk) in Crimea. Esterhazy considered this hypothesis unlikely due to the missile's range and safety-features. He noted that the missile, with a range of 240 km (150 mi) could not have struck the plane which was more than 320 km away from the missile launch site.
Russian officials initially dismissed the American claim as "unworthy of attention," and Russian President Vladimir Putin told the press the next day that "the weapons used in those exercises had such characteristics that make it impossible for them to reach the air corridor through which the plane was moving." Ukrainian military officials initially denied that their missile had brought down the plane; they reported that the S-200 had been launched seawards and had successfully self-destructed. Indeed, Defense Ministry spokesman Konstantin Khivrenko noted that "neither the direction nor the range (of the missiles) correspond to the practical or theoretical point at which the plane exploded."
On 20 November 2003, an ex gratia compensation agreement was signed[why?] between the governments of Ukraine and Israel. It was later ratified by the relatives[clarification needed] of the victims who agreed to the conditions. In addition to compensation issues, the agreement has stated that "Ukraine is not legally responsible for the accident that occurred to the plane and free of any obligations regarding it". Commenting on the agreement, Gen. Oleksandr Kuz'muk, the ex-Minister of Defense sacked after the accident, told media that "the payments were a humane action, not the admission of guilt".
Additional compensation claims by relatives
Pechersk local court
Some relatives of the crash victims refused to accept the compensation offered by Ukraine. They brought a civil suit against the Ukrainian government[dubious ] to Pechers'ky local court in Kiev. During the court hearings, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence representatives stated that the airplane "could not be brought down by a Ukrainian missile" according to the forensic examination of the plane's debris, radar information and technical capabilities of the missiles. They also argued that the Soviet-made Identification friend or foe system of the missile in question would have prevented it from striking the Soviet-made airliner. The lawyer representing the plaintiffs argued in media that the fault of the Ukrainian government was effectively proven by the fact that it negotiated the compensations for Israeli relatives of the victims.
Appeals in courts
|This section is outdated. (January 2013)|
As of January 2013[update] the court proceedings continued.
- Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 (was also destroyed due to a suspected missile attack or a bomb)
- "Russian jet explodes over Black Sea," BBC News, October 4, 2001; "Black Sea crash wreckage located," BBC News, October 5, 2001.
- Nicholas Esterhazy, "Munich revisited: A look into current U.S. foreign policy. For King & Country," Johns Hopkins Newsletter, October 21, 2001.
- Esterhazy, "Munich Revisited." On the particulars of the crash, see also Alan Philips and Andrew Sparrow, "Airliner blasted out of sky" Daily Telegraph (October, 2001).
- Alan Philips and Andrew Sparrow, "Airliner blasted out of sky" Daily Telegraph (October, 2001).
- Российский "Ту-154" сбили не мы (Ukrainian)
- ВИСНОВОК ЕКСПЕРТІВ... (Hand-signed and stamped "Experst Conclusion" of the Kyiv Forensics Scientific and Research Institute with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine issued on May 21, 2010, with number of court case in question) (Ukrainian)
- (Russian) Investigation. Interstate Aviation Committee.
- Criminal Occurrence description at the Aviation Safety Network
- Canadian TV reporting on the unscheduled stopover at Burgas, Bulgaria.