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Saratov Airlines An-148 Crashes Minutes after Departure in Russia

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Saratov Airlines An-148 Crashes Minutes after Departure in Russia

Alex Snow

Saratov Airlines An-148 Crashes Minutes after Departure in Russia
February 11
14:09 2018

LONDON — A Saratov Airlines Antonov AN-148 has crashed in the Moscow region today, killing all 71 on board.

The manifest of flight 6W703 lists 65 passengers and six crewmembers.

News outlet Interfax, based in Russia, reported that the aircraft disappeared from radar, minutes after its departure from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport (DMV).

The outlet also added witness statements saying that a burning airplane was seen falling to the ground.

News agency TASS confirmed that debris had been found and that no survivors were rescued at the scene.

The Russian Transport Ministry confirmed the fatalities of all 71 souls on board the Antonov An-148 aircraft.

President Vladimir Putin has given out his condolences and will be launching a special commission to investigate the crash.

FlightRadar24 confirmed that RA-61704, the seven-year-old AN-148 in question, was falling at speeds of up to 22,000 feet per minute before impact was recorded, where the signal was lost around 20 kilometers southeast of Domodedovo, near the district of Ramenskoye, according to ADS-B data.

Weather around the airport at the time of the accident recorded temperatures of around -5 degrees Celcius with light snowfall. The airport reported low visibility via the ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service).

Weather could have most likely played a role in this crash, but Russian meteorologists stated that this sort of weather for the time of year is standard.

Saratov Airlines – The Details


This small Russian carrier is based at Saratov Tsentralny Airport (RTW / UWSS). Once part of Aeroflot, the airline was founded in 1931 as Saravia, then becoming the first Embraer operator in Russia in 2013.

Saratov Airlines currently operates a fleet of two Embraer E-195s—with an average age of 10 years—and five Antonov An-148s, of which RA-61704 had 7.8 years of age.

This plane, an Antonov An-148-100B (RA-61704), was initially delivered to Rossiya Airlines on June 21, 2010. Rossiya operated the Russian-made plane until April 8, 2015, when it was put into storage at St. Petersburg Airport (LED).

On February 8, 2017—one year before its crash—the plane was taken over by Saratov Airlines, which operated it on hundreds of flights until today.

Saratov’s safety records were tainted with a sanction imposed by the Russian government in October 2015. The airline was punished for violating security rules, therefore curtailing their permission to fly outside of Russia.

In May 2016, Saratov was, once again, granted permission to operate international flights under a charter license.

If the Russian government confirms all 71 fatalities, this crash will become the deadliest the aviation industry has seen in the past two years.

November 2016 saw the Chapecoense Football Club all perished near Medellin, Colombia, which killed all but a couple passengers onboard.

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ATC recordings reveal that all communications with the aircraft remained normal until 11:28Z—the AvHerald reports—which is when the crew no longer responded.

According to Aviation-Safety.net, the aircraft crashed into a snowy field and disintegrated into several pieces of debris.

Within the special commission launched by President Putin, Alexander Bastrykin will head the committee. Reports have said he has been to the crash-site already.

Overall, it is too early to place any official speculation on what brought this airliner down. It will be down to investigative teams to find out what happened and publish their reports respectively.

This, however, has produced a shock for the aviation industry, mainly due to the past few years of being a 100% safe industry on the commercial level.


On behalf of the team at Airways, we would like to express our full condolences to those lost on today’s flight. It is a sad day for the industry.
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James Field

James Field

James is a passionate AvGeek based in Manchester, U.K who has been actively spotting for years. James has been an Aviation Enthusiast for 8 years and has a fond likening to Concorde! James hopes to grow in the aviation industry with journalism being his primary focus.

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