Dozens miraculously survive deadly plane crash that left aircraft a ‘pile of metal’

By Will Stewart

Dozens of people escaped death in a fiery plane crash that cost four people their lives in remote Siberia.

The pilot and three passengers were killed when the plane plummeted through trees as it crashed in foggy conditions on a river island in remote Siberia.

A passenger was able to walk from the crash site to find rescuers arriving by boat.

She even guided them to the site of the stricken twin-engine L-410 aircraft on an island in the River Kirenga.

The wounded turned on music to full volume on their mobile phones so the emergency team was able to hear them in the remote taiga island where wild brown bears roam.

One of the plane's pilots was dead and the other was unconscious by the time rescuers reached the site of the crash.

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The plane crashed through forest, killing four aboard (Transport Prosecutor Office/TASS)

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

Video and pictures from the scene show the mangled wreck of the Czech-made aircraft.

Reports indicatied it was astonishing that anyone had survived from the flight from Irkutsk city to the outlying village of Kazachinskoye..

Passenger Elena Populyakh had alerted the Russian authorities to the crash by making a mobile call to emergency services.

Incredibly, passengers and a co-pilot were able to be pulled free alive from the crumpled wreckage (Russia Emergencies Ministry/TASS)

She said: “We thought we were landing normally, when suddenly everything started to crack.

“The crew didn't say anything.

“The plane is damaged really badly with people jammed inside.

“I see them, but I don’t know if they are alive.”

Among the dead in the crash near Baikal, the world’s deepest lake, were Tatyana Popovich, 43, a cardiologist, and co-pilot Vladimir Chernenko.

The crashed plane was reduced to a pile of metal in the impact but survivors managed to escape the wreckage (Transport Prosecutor Office/TASS)

Surviving captain Nikolay Makhnutin, who remained in “deep shock” after the crash, said: “There was a navigation system failure.

“Our GPS navigator led the plane via the autopilot too far to the right.

“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.”

He had “no visual contact” with the airstrip on his first approach so decided on a second attempt.

The crash was around three miles from the village airstrip.

Survivor Lyudmila Koksharova, a 2-year-old student from Irkutsk, said she was on he first ever flight, travelling to see her fiancé after her engagement last month.

She escaped with an injured nose.

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

A spokesman 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, said: “The pilot told me they were on auto-pilot, and went off course because of a navigation system mistake.

“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 probe into the SILA airline crash.

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