Russian Plane Crash Kills Majority of Ice Hockey Team

by nph | September 9th, 2011

September 9, 2011

A passenger plane crashed into a river bank near Yaroslavl, Russia, this week, taking the lives of 43 ice hockey players. Reuters reports that the hockey team had been traveling to a season-opener when the Yak-42 plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Wednesday, September 7.

The horrific aviation accident, which occurred about 150 miles from Moscow, wiped out the majority of the Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv, whose players were on the plane to travel to a match in Minsk, Belarus. Photos of the demolished aircraft show it half-submerged in a river on the edge of the village Tunoshna.

The crash has illicited not only an outpouring of grief and support from the Russian nation, but also some serious questions about overall Russian aircraft safety, as a little under three months ago another Russian aviation accident killed 45. Many other crashes in recent years are also being cited by officials as examples about flawed air safety.

Among the dead in this most recent crash are many Russian players, as well as three Czech world champions, a Swedish goalkeeper, a Slovak forward, and a Canadian coach.

“This is the darkest day in the history of our sport,” International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel said in a statement. “This is not only a Russian tragedy, the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from ten nations.”

Two people survived the crash, one who has burns over 90 percent of his body and another who is listed in critical condition.

“This tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world — including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our League,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

Read more.

Do you think Russia needs to address its aviation safety issues?

If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy can help.