‘Many Questions To Be Answered’ About Boeing 737 Tragedy In Kazan

Aviation Law Expert Reveals Concerns Over Crash Which Claimed Lives Of 50 People

18.11.2013

An aviation law expert has called on authorities in Russia to work quickly and thoroughly to address the “many questions” raised by the Boeing 737 crash close to Kazan yesterday  (17 November) which claimed the lives of 50 people including a British woman.

Donna Bull, 53, was one of 44 passengers on board the Tatarstan Airlines flight from Moscow which came down around 19:25 local time and reportedly exploded on impact. The six crewmembers on the flight were also killed in the incident.

Mrs Bull worked at Bellersby College in Cambridge and was travelling to Kazan with a colleague on a work trip. The company who runs the site said she was “a very popular and well respected member of staff”. The Foreign Office in the UK have confirmed the death and stated it was provided consular assistance at this time.

Authorities in Russia are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash and are believed to be assessing a range of factors, including whether a crew error, technical fault or weather conditions at the time of the flight may have played some part in the incident.

Jim Morris, a former RAF Boeing AWACS pilot and Partner in Irwin Mitchell’s specialist aviation law team, has vast expertise in acting for victims and families who have lost loved ones in air accidents across the globe.

Expert Opinion
From the information known about this incident already, it is clear that there are many questions to be answered. Reports indicate that the aircraft crashed on final approach, so the authorities will need to focus on the weather conditions, the crew’s performance, and whether any technical problems contributed to this accident.

"The final approach is a critical phase of flight, requiring a high degree of skill from the crew in terms of their handling of the aircraft and its systems. The aircraft has to be flown on the correct approach path, at the correct speed, in the correct configuration and with the correct rate of descent. This high standard of precision is required in all weather conditions, but the demands on the crew and the aircraft become much greater for approaches that are made in difficult weather conditions, such as high wind speed and poor visibility.

"There is little margin for error from the crew or the serviceability of the aircraft during this phase of flight, hence the reason that a number of previous airliner disasters have occurred during the final approach to land. One of the most recent of these is the Bhoja Air 737 that crashed on final approach to Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Pakistan on 20 April 2012, killing all 127 persons on board.

"Through our work representing many families who lost loved ones in the Bhoja Air disaster, in addition to countless other international air accidents, we have seen first-hand on many occasions how the loved ones of those fatally injured are always desperate for answers in relation to what went wrong and to establish how such problems can be avoided again in the future.

"Air accidents are rarely caused by one factor – it is normally a chain of events that culminates in the loss of control of the aircraft, so it is crucial that all factors that contributed are identified and understood.

"As for all air accident investigations, the Russian authorities need to conduct a comprehensive investigation and provide prompt answers (via preliminary and interim reports if necessary) so that lessons can be learned by operators of Boeing 737 aircraft in Russia and around the world.

"It is to be hoped that the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) data can be recovered from the wreckage and that the authorities will provide a preliminary report as soon as the data has been retrieved and analysed. This should help improve flight safety and provide answers to those who lost loved ones.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those tragically killed in this accident."
Jim Morris, Partner