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16 killed as parachuting flight crashes in Russia’s Tatarstan region

At least 16 people died on a parachuting flight in Russia’s Tatarstan region when their Let L-410 plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Oct. 10. (Video: Reuters)

MOSCOW — Sixteen people died on a parachuting flight in Tatarstan in southern Russia on Sunday when their Let L-410 plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Six people were reported to be seriously injured.

The twin-engine plane failed to gain height and went down in a field, Russian officials said. It was the third fatal L-410 crash in Russia since June.

The pilot, co-pilot and 14 passengers died, including at least one who was on his first parachuting flight and two parachuting instructors.

The plane belonged to the Menzelinsk branch of a volunteer military organization known as DOSAAF.

It was the second crash of an L-410 parachuting flight in Russia this year. In June, four people were killed in a similar incident.

Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the Tatarstan region, said Sunday that one of the plane’s engines failed. He said the pilots reported the problem at an altitude of about 230 feet and steered the plane to the left to avoid a settlement before crashing.

The plane broke in two and overturned on landing, with the front half severely damaged, Minnikhanov told journalists during a visit to the site.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said a criminal case has been opened amid allegations that air traffic safety rules were violated. Local media reported that investigators were examining whether the plane, which is designed to carry 19 passengers, was overloaded.

Local media reported that the plane had been in service since 1987. DOSAAF has suspended the use of L-410 aircraft pending the investigation’s conclusion.

One of those who died was Pavel Muzychenko, who posted about his love of skydiving on Facebook. He said he often traveled to Menzelinsk for skydiving trips.

Another victim was Ilnar Gaifullin, who was recently given the parachuting flight as a birthday gift and was making his first jump, local media reported.

The L-410 was designed for use on short runways and on unpaved, grassy and snowy areas. It can be configured for skydiving flights.

An L-410 crashed during a parachuting flight on June 19 near the settlement of Zhuravlyovo in Siberia. Both pilots, two parachuting instructors and another passenger died. There were 19 passengers.

An L-410 crashed last month in foggy conditions near Irkutsk in Siberia, killing a pilot and three of 16 passengers and injuring the others, four of them seriously.

The L-410 was designed by the formerly Czechoslovakian firm Let Kunovice, which is now Aircraft Industries. Since 2018, it has been produced in Russia in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

Russia has recorded more than 10 fatal crashes of small passenger planes and helicopters in 2021.

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