28 May 2019 14:45

Business aircraft of S7 co-owner Fileva lost spatial orientation before crashing - report

BERLIN. May 28 (Interfax) - The business aircraft of S7 co-owner Natalia Fileva lost spatial orientation during approach, hit the ground, and caught fire, the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) said in a statment.

"The plane ran out of control while banking, hit the ground, and caught fire," the statement said.

The private plane LT RA-2151G crashed while approaching the Frankfurt Egelsbach Airport on March 31. It had three Russian citizens on board; namely, Natalia Fileva, her father Valery Karachev, and pilot Andrei Dikun.

According to the statement, the plane departed from the Cannes Mandelieu Airport in France and reached echelon 260, about 8,000 meters above sea level. The pilot established contact with the Frankfurt tower at about 3:19 p.m. and said that the plane was at echelon 60 (about 2,000 meters above sea level) and bound for the airport of landing. The air traffic controller updated the echelon (4,000 feet or about 1,200 meters above sea level), and the pilot confirmed the update.

At 3:20 p.m., the air traffic controller told the pilot to descend to 3,500 feet (1,000 meters). Soon afterwards, the pilot established radio contact with an air traffic controller in Egelsbach. The air traffic controller asked the pilot at 3:26 p.m. whether he saw the airfield, and the pilot responded, "Not yet." After that the air traffic controller suggested that the pilot slow down and said that the plane was on the right course. The pilot asked at 3:27 p.m. whether he could make a turn, and the air traffic controller said, "Yes, on your left-hand, and do not overfly the airway in the west." The pilot started turning to the left, his last contact with the radar was recorded at 3:27 p.m., and the plane fell to the ground within the next few seconds.

"The airfield tower was manned by three persons; the tower supervisor, his deputy, and the runway traffic controller, at the moment of the accident. They saw the plane flying towards the tower, diagonally to the runway. Two witnesses saw the plane making the left turn. They assessed the angle of turning at about 30-45 degrees," the statement said.

A second plane was approaching at the time, and two people on board saw the Russian business aircraft going into a dive and hitting the ground.

One of the people walking through a forest about 330 meters from the crash scene made a video of the crash and shared the recording with investigators.

"The video depicts a shadow of the plane moving west shortly before the incident. Engines are roaring, and the sound of crash is heard eight seconds after the shadow disappears," the statement said.

According to the statement, the plane had neither a black box nor a voice recorder, since such equipment is not mandatory for aircraft of its kind. The report did not name anyone as being guilty of causing the crash.