Russia: Plane Crashes with Lokomotive Ice Hockey Team

On the afternoon of September 7, 2011 an airplane carrying nearly all the players of the Lokomotive professional ice hockey team crashed only 500 meters after take-off near Yaroslavl in Russia. From the 45 passengers (including international team members from Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden and Ukraine) only 2 survived. The plane was a Yak-42 of the executive charter airline Yak-Service and was on its way to Belarus.

One of the first videos [ru] from the scene of the crash was uploaded by migalki on YouTube. It shows the burning remains of the plane in shallow water.

Initial reactions

Ice hockey is the sport of pride for Russians and is adored countrywide. This is why the reactions to the catastrophe were even more vocal than for previous crashes, as it was considered not only a human loss, but also a loss for Russian hockey and Russian sport. Blogger Pilgrim-67 wrote [ru]:

Я много лет наслаждаюсь хоккеем. Локомотив в любых составах доставлял мне столько удовольствия своей игрой. Услышав об их гибели я испытал шок. В шоке и пребываю. Как будто кусок души вырвали.

For many years I've been enjoying hockey. Lokomotive in any composition of players provided me with ample enjoyment with its game. After finding out about their deaths, I was shocked. I'm still in shock. As if someone had torn out a part of my soul.

One of the first collections of data on the tragedy was compiled [ru] on Livejournal by gooodvins in the Ru-hockey community.

A touching video statement announcing that the plane crashed [ru] by the president of the Kontinental Hockey League, Alexander Medvedev, was widely cited by the bloggers. He expressed his grief as he spoke to team supporters in an ice hockey rink in Ufa, and suggested a minute of silence to mourn.

Later on, Medvedev appeared again. Unable to conceal his emotions, he announced that the first match of the season of the Kontinental Hockey League had been cancelled.

Russian airspace – the most dangerous in 2011

This is the sixth deadly plane crash in Russia since January 2011, and it has incited another wave of demands to tighten safety controls, and retire the obsolete and unsafe planes of Russian airlines.

User grozaa exclaimed [ru]:

Сколько это будет продолжаться????????? ????Я плачу!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Вашу мать когда мы будем думать о безопасности перелетов?????????? Жизнь одна!!!!

For how long will it keep happening again and again???? I'm crying!!!! Damn, when will we be thinking of the flight safety????? You live only once!!!!

Avast85 wrote [ru]:

Блин как же так в 21 веке……. Е..чее правительсво неужели нельзя нормальные самолёты пускать в полёт(((((

Damn, it's such a pity in the XXI century…. Can't f…ing government let normal planes into the air ((((

Treblaine, however, was sure it was not the question of the plane, but rather a mistake of the pilot:

Хотя тут ошибка пилота судя по СМИ.
Як -42 один из самых надежных в мире.
Тем более тут ВИП самолет,за которым следят по полной.

According to the media, it was rather the pilot's mistake. The Yak-42 is among the most reliable in the world. Besides, it was a VIP-plane that is being looked over on a full scale.

newworld2011, said [ru] that a pilot's mistake could be only one factor of the crash, and the both the plane and the landing services contributed to the catastrophe.

Whom to blame?

The criticism immediately spilled over to political figures, mainly to Igor Levitin, the minister of transportation. He has held the seat since 2004, and his political career has survived 15 large crashes, including the crash of 96 senior members of the Polish government in 2010.

Blogger ky3necoff wrote [ru]:

Левитин железный человек. Столько катастроф, а он все так же сидит в своем кресле.

Levitin is an iron man. So many catastrophies, and yet he still has his seat.

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