Siberia Airlines Flight 1812

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Siberia Airlines Flight 1812
A Siberia Airlines Tupolev Tu-154M, similar to that involved in the incident.
Occurrence summary
Date 4 October 2001
Summary Shot down by a Ukrainian military missile
Site Black Sea
Passengers 66
Crew 12
Fatalities 78 (all)
Aircraft type Tupolev Tu-154M
Operator Siberia Airlines
Registration RA-85693
Flight origin Ben Gurion Int'l Airport
Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport
Novosibirsk, Russia

Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 was a commercial flight shot down by the Ukrainian military 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. Most of the passengers were Israelis visiting relatives in Russia. 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 south-southeast of Feodosiya in Crimea. Ukraine eventually admitted that the disaster was probably caused by an errant missile fired by its armed forces.[1] Ukraine ended up paying $15 million to surviving family members of 78 victims ($200,000 per victim).

Initial information[edit]

Flight 1812 departed Tel Aviv with destination Novosibirsk. It proceeded at an altitude of 36,000 ft over the Black Sea when 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).[2][3] Most of the passengers were Israelis visiting their relatives in Russia. No one on board survived. A national day of mourning was instituted in Israel—with a moment of silence, flags at half-mast, and schools teaching special lessons on the tragedy. A monument to the victims was built in Ben Shemen forest in Israel.[4]

Shootdown[edit]

Location of crash site; departure and destination airports
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion
Crash site
Crash site
Novosibirsk International Airport
Novosibirsk International Airport
Magnify-clip.png
Location of crash site; departure and destination airports

Occurring less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks, the crash was initially suspected by Russian officials to be an act of terrorism by Chechen rebels.[5][6][7] Later, the Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee ruled that the crash was caused by an accidental Ukrainian S-200 missile strike during military training exercises, staged off Cape Onuk (or Chuluk) in Crimea.[8][9] A preliminary Russian report confirmed initial private assessments of American Military officials that the S-200 missile overshot its target drone—which had been destroyed successfully by an S-300 fired at the same time—and instead of self-destructing, locked in on the passenger plane 150 miles further away and exploded as a ball of Shrapnel shells 50 feet over the plane.[10][11][12]

Russian officials initially dismissed the American claim as "unworthy of attention,"[12] 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."[12] 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."[12][13]

However, Ukrainian officials later admitted that it was indeed their military that shot down the airliner. Ukrainian officials speculated that water interference caused the missile to veer off course.[14][15] Ukraine reportedly banned the testing of Buk, S-300 and similar missile systems for a period of 7 years following this incident.[16][17][18]

Compensation payments[edit]

Compensation to Israeli citizens[edit]

On 20 November 2003, an ex gratia compensation agreement was signed between the governments of Ukraine and Israel.[19] 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".[20] Commenting on the agreement, Gen. Oleksandr Kuz'muk, the ex-Minister of Defense sacked after the accident,[21] told media that "the payments were a humane action, not the admission of guilt".[citation needed]. Later as a deputy prime minister in the government of Viktor Yanukovych, Kuzmuk denied that the Ukrainian military was responsible for the shoot-down over the Black Sea, although Ukraine agreed to pay damages.[22]

Compensation to Russian citizens[edit]

Ukraine agreed to pay the family of each of the 38 Russian citizens killed the sum of $200,000 – the same amount agreed over each of the 40 Israelis killed. The settlement was ratified by the Russian parliament in May 2004 and president Putin signed it into law in June 2004.[23]

Additional compensation claims by relatives and Siberian Airlines[edit]

Pechersk local court[edit]

Some relatives of the crash victims refused to accept the compensation offered by Ukraine.[24] 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.[20] The lawyer representing the plaintiffs argued in media[citation needed] that the fault of the Ukrainian government was effectively proven by the fact that it negotiated the compensations for Israeli relatives of the victims.

None of the 11 forensic examinations[who?][25] carried out so far have proven the probability of hitting the Tupolev-154 by a Ukrainian missile.

Appeals in courts[edit]

On 22 August 2007 Kiev Appeals Court has dismissed the victims' relatives suit against the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, ruling that military of Ukraine bear no liability for the accident.[20][26][27] The court decision conflicts with report of the IAC group which had investigated the accident on Russia's behalf.[28]

Siberian Airlines lawsuit[edit]

In 2003–2005, the Ukrainian government paid $15.6 million in compensation to the relatives of the victims. In 2004, Siberian airlines filed a lawsuit, against Ukrainian defense ministry and the Ukraine State Treasury, at a Kiev court seeking more than $15.3 million in compensation for the loss of the passenger jet. However, the Kiev Interregional Commercial Court of Appeal, in September 2011, rejected a compensation claim from the Russian airline. An appeal to Kyiv's Economic Court of Appeals was rejected, in May 2012. The ruling was further upheld, in December 2012, by Ukraine's Supreme Commercial Court.[29][30] As of January 2013 the court proceedings continued.

Memorial services[edit]

Subsequent memorial services were held in Israel, Sochi and Novosibirsk.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ben Aris (13 October 2001). "Ukraine admits it shot down Russian airliner". The Telegraph. 
  2. ^ "Russian jet explodes over Black Sea". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 4 October 2001. 
  3. ^ "Black Sea crash wreckage located". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 5 October 2001. 
  4. ^ Attila Shumpleby (:02). "Rally: Change the victims of the disaster in the Black Sea". www.ynet.co.il. 
  5. ^ Patrick Martin (6 October 2001). "More questions than answers in Siberian Airlines jet explosion". www.wsws.org. WSWS. 
  6. ^ Maura Reynolds (6 October 2001). "Clues, Remains Sought in Siberian Airlines Crash". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ "Ukrainians Shift Stance on the Cause of Air Crash". 
  8. ^ Cogan Schneier (17 July 2014). "History shows passenger plane shootdowns often mistakes". USA Today. 
  9. ^ "Kiev Court Dismisses Appeal Over Shot Down Tu-154". 
  10. ^ Sabrina Tavernise (7 October 2001). "Ukrainians Shift Stance on the Cause of Air Crash". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "After 9 Days, Ukraine Says Its Missile Hit A Russian Jet". 
  12. ^ a b c d Alan Philips and Andrew Sparrow, "Airliner blasted out of sky" Daily Telegraph (October, 2001).
  13. ^ "Accidental Firing May Have Downed Russian Plane". 
  14. ^ "Ukraine admits it shot down Russian airliner". www.telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 13 October 2001. 
  15. ^ "Ukraine blames water for downing airliner". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 2 November 2001. 
  16. ^ "All about Buk 9k37, missile 'blamed for' Malaysia jet MH17 crash". www.hindustantimes.com. Hindustan Times. 18 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Ukraine Defense Chief's Report Paints Bleak Picture of Armed Forces". 
  18. ^ "Ukraine's Defense Minister describes the combat readiness of the country's armed forces as unsatisfactory". www.globalsecurity.org. 
  19. ^ "Israel, Ukraine sign agreement on compensation for Russian jet victims". Haaretz. AP. 20 November 2003. 
  20. ^ a b c Российский "Ту-154" сбили не мы (Ukrainian)
  21. ^ "Defense minister fired over plane crash". The Topeka Capital-Journal. 25 October 2001. 
  22. ^ "Accident-Prone Ukraine". 
  23. ^ "Russia agrees airliner payout". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 14 June 2004. 
  24. ^ Serhiy Solodky (29 October 2002). "Ministry of Foreign Affairs promises payment for the Tu-154 incident next year". www.day.kiev.ua. 
  25. ^ ВИСНОВОК ЕКСПЕРТІВ... (Archive) (Hand-signed and stamped "Experst Conclusion" of the Kyiv Forensics Scientific and Research Institute with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine issued on 21 May 2010, with number of court case in question) (Ukrainian)
  26. ^ "Ukrainian court rules investigators failed to prove missile downed Russian passenger jet". 
  27. ^ Maria Danilova (22 August 2007). "Ukrainian Court Decides Missile Not Behind Crash". The Moscow Times. 
  28. ^ "Kiev court: Proof lacking that missile downed Russian airliner". Haaretz. AP. 22 August 2007. 
  29. ^ "Ukraine Court Upholds Dismissal of Airline Shoot-Down Claim". 
  30. ^ "Kyiv court rejects S7 Airlines' appeal in case on Tu-154 crash in 2001". KyivPost. Interfax-Ukraine. 29 May 2012. 
  31. ^ В России и Израиле вспоминали погибших в авиакатастрофе 2001 года 4 Oct 2011

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°11′N 37°37′E / 42.183°N 37.617°E / 42.183; 37.617