South Airlines Flight 8971

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South Airlines Flight 8971
UR-WRA by Volodymyr Moroz.jpg
UR-WRA, the aircraft involved, photographed a month before the accident
Date13 February 2013 (2013-02-13)
SummaryCrashed next to the runway while landing in fog
SiteDonetsk International Airport, Donetsk, Ukraine
Aircraft typeAntonov An-24
OperatorSouth Airlines
IATA flight No.YG8971
ICAO flight No.OTL8971
Call signSOUTHLINE 8971
Flight originOdessa, Ukraine
DestinationDonetsk International Airport, Donetsk, Ukraine

On 13 February 2013, a Ukrainian Antonov An-24 passenger aircraft operating South Airlines flight 8971 crashed on landing at Donetsk International Airport, Ukraine, killing 5 of the 52 people on board.[1][2]


At at 18:09 Kiev Time, after an internal flight from Odessa to Donetsk, the plane missed the runway as it made a hard landing at Donetsk International Airport.[3] Five passengers were confirmed dead.[4][5] After touchdown the aircraft had burst into flames, however, most occupants were evacuated because they were able to escape from the burning aircraft through a hole in the fuselage left by the crash.[6][7] Eyewitnesses have stated that the aircraft was attempting to land in dense fog and touched down on soft ground between the main runway and the taxiway, other observers reported the aircraft touched down short of the runway, on soft ground.[7] According to flight documentation on board were 36 passengers and 7 crew members; but there were also several unregistered passengers making the total of people on board 52.[8][9]

All 44 passengers were football fans on their way to the match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund.[10] This match opened with a minute of silence in memory of the deceased.[11]

The aircraft was built in 1973.[12]


Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor's Officer Volodymyr Vyshynsky is in charge of the inquiry which was opened the day after the crash.[8] On 14 February 2013 investigators considered pilot error, faulty ground support equipment and poor weather conditions as possible causes.[6] The plane's pilot blamed bad weather for the accident; while the plane's operator, South Airlines, stated that the plane was in good condition and the pilot should not have landed in the fog and should have diverted to another airport.[6] One passenger mentioned "engine failure during landing".[11]

Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkol stated that the cause for the crash was a loss of speed by the aircraft during landing approach due to an error of the unprepared crew, which had no clearance to make the flight in those weather conditions.[13] The Ministry of Transport reported that at the Minimum Descent Altitude the crew did not establish visual contact with the approach lights or runway, the commander then reduced the rate of descent however did not communicate a decision to go-around or continue the approach to his crew. The aircraft slowed to below the minimum control speed, rolled to 48 degrees of bank and impacted ground right wing first.[14]


  1. ^ Reuters (13 February 2013). "AN-24 crash-landing kills 5 in Donetsk". Russia: RT. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  2. ^ CNN Staff (14 February 2013). "Deaths reported in Ukraine plane crash". CNN. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Five killed as plane crash-lands in eastern Ukraine". BBC News. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  4. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Ukrainian) Кількість жертв аварійної посадки літака в Донецьку збільшилася до п'яти Number of victims emergency landing in Donetsk to five, Interfax Ukraine (13 February 2013)
  5. ^ Balmforth, Richard (13 February 2013). "Plane crash landing in Ukraine kills at least five: officials". Reuters. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Crashed Ukrainian plane hit weather station, Kyiv Post (14 February 2013)
  7. ^ a b Accident: South AN24 at Donetsk on Feb 13th 2013, aircraft burst into flames on landing, The Aviation Herald (13 February 2013)
  8. ^ a b All five victims of An-24 crash male, three identified, says regional prosecutor, Kyiv Post (14 February 2013)
  9. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Ukrainian) Заступник голови Одеської ОДА Матковський міг знаходитися на борту літака, що вчинив аварійну посадку Deputy Head of the Odessa Regional State Administration Matkovsky could be on board an aircraft that made an emergency landing, Interfax Ukraine (13 February 2013)
  10. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Ukrainian) Губернатор: при посадці літака 4 людини загинули, 12- постраждали Governor: when the aircraft landing 4 people died, 12 – suffered, Ukrayinska Pravda (13 February 2013)
  11. ^ a b Ukraine plane crash kills Champions League fans, The Guardian (14 February 2013)
  12. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Russian) UR-WRA
  13. ^
  14. ^