Siberia Airlines Flight 1812
A Siberia Airlines Tupolev Tu-154M, similar to that involved in the incident
|Date||4 October 2001|
|Summary||Accidental shootdown by Ukrainian S-200 missile|
|Site||Black Sea |
|Aircraft type||Tupolev Tu-154M|
|Flight origin||Ben Gurion Airport |
Tel Aviv, Israel
|Destination||Tolmachevo Airport |
Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 was a commercial flight shot down by the Ukrainian Air Force over the Black Sea on 4 October 2001, en route from Tel Aviv, Israel to Novosibirsk, Russia. The aircraft, 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. There were no survivors. The crash site is about 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. The accident took place at the time of the combat missile launches during the joint Ukrainian-Russian military air defence exercises. The exercises were held at the Russian-controlled training ground of the 31st Russian Black Sea Fleet Research center on Opuk cape near the city of Kerch (Crimea). Ukraine eventually admitted that it might have caused the crash, probably by an errant S-200 missile fired by its armed forces. Ukraine paid $15 million to surviving family members of the 78 victims ($200,000 per victim).
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). 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.
Occurring less than a month after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the crash was initially suspected by Russian officials to be an act of terrorism, and they denied American reports that it was caused by an S-200 missile. 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.
Initial private assessments of American military officials said the crash was caused by a S-200 missile that overshot its target drone—which had been destroyed successfully by an S-300 fired at the same time—and instead of self-destructing, locked on the passenger plane about 250 kilometres (160 mi) further away and detonated 15 metres (50 ft) over the plane.
Russian officials 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".
However, some Ukrainian officials later admitted that it was probably their military that shot down the airliner. Ukrainian officials speculated that water interference caused the missile to veer off course. Ukraine reportedly banned the testing of Buk, S-300 and similar missile systems for a period of 7 years following this incident.
On 7 October 2001, it was reported that the main fuselage of the aircraft, believed to contain the black box recorder, was thought to be at a depth of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), which was too deep for divers to retrieve.
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Compensation to Israeli citizens
On 20 November 2003, an ex gratia compensation agreement was signed 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".. 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.
Compensation to Russian citizens
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 Vladimir Putin signed it into law in June 2004.
Additional compensation claims by relatives and Siberian Airlines
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 Kyiv. 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
On 22 August 2007 Kyiv 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. The court decision conflicts with report of the IAC group which had investigated the accident on Russia's behalf.
Siberian Airlines lawsuit
Between 2003 and 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 Kyiv court seeking more than $15.3 million in compensation for the loss of the passenger jet. However, the Kyiv 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. As of January 2013[update] the court proceedings continued, but were disrupted again due to the Maidan protests.
Subsequent memorial services were held in Israel, Sochi and Novosibirsk.
- Itavia Flight 870
- Iran Air Flight 655
- Israel–Russia relations
- Israel–Ukraine relations
- Korean Air Lines Flight 007
- List of airliner shootdown incidents
- Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
- Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752
- Russia–Ukraine relations
- https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20011004-0 Retrieved December 17th 2018
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- В России и Израиле вспоминали погибших в авиакатастрофе 2001 года 4 Oct 2011