Miracle survival of 12 in horror plane crash after jet turned into ‘metal pile’

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Four people have been killed in a plane crash but a dozen miraculously survived when a jet was reduced to a "pile of metal".

The pilot was among those killed when a plane cut down trees as it crashed in heavy fog on a river island in remote Siberia, Russia.

A female passenger walked from the wreckage to find rescuers arriving by boat and guide them to the site of the stricken twin-engine L-410 aircraft on an island in the River Kirenga.

Governor of Irkutsk region Igor Kobzev said: "The plane turned into a pile of metal."

Wounded passengers also turned on music to full volume on their mobile phones so the emergency team could locate them.

Reports indicate that it is astonishing anyone survived the crash as video and pictures emerged of the mangled plane.

Passenger Elena Populyakh had alerted the Russian authorities to the crash by making a mobile call to emergency services with one pilot dead and the other unconscious.

She said: “We thought we were landing normally, when suddenly everything started to crack. The crew didn't say anything.

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“The plane is damaged really badly with people jammed inside. I see them, but I don’t know if they are alive.”

Co-pilot Vladimir Chernenko, local cardiologist Tatyana Popovich and Vitaly Guzhva are among the dead in the crash near Baikal, the world's deepest lake.

Surviving captain Nikolay Makhnutin said he was in "deep shock" and blamed the crash on a "navigation system failure".

He said: "Our GPS navigator led the plane via the autopilot too far to the right.

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“We were starting a second landing attempt after I realised that the autopilot was leading us off course.

“We caught a hill as we climbed to gain more altitude. Thank God there was no fire.

“I was unconscious for some time. At first I thought there was smoke on the ground, but it turned out to be fog.”

Another survivor was student Lyudmila Koksharova, 22, who was taking her first flight and was travelling to see her fiancé after their engagement.

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All but one of the survivors were admitted to hospital in nearby Magistralny.

A spokesman for the local hospital said: “There are 11 people in hospital, three in a critical condition in intensive care.

“Three are in a state of mild severity, the rest moderate severity. One patient has gone home.”

Airfield director Boris Ilyin, director of the landing site: “The pilot told me they were on auto-pilot, and went off course because of a navigation system mistake.

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“The mistake was quite serious though. The hill they crashed into is 7km ((4 miles) from the runway.

“The weather was pretty normal for us. We do get fog, but this was nothing extraordinary.”

The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation into the crash of the SILA airline.

Some 70 people were involved in the rescue operation.

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  • Russia
  • Plane Crash

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