An-148 crashes in Russia on test flight: ministry

>> Sunday, March 6, 2011




Preliminary information from Russia's emergencies ministry states that an Antonov An-148 has crashed in Russia, killing six occupants.

While the details are sketchy, the accident is the first involving the newly-developed regional twinjet, deliveries of which only started in 2009.

The aircraft came down and caught fire 160km east of the city of Belgorod, says the ministry, at around 11:00 Moscow time today.

"According to preliminary data, six crew members were on board, all of whom died," it adds. The crash site is near a small town, Garbuzovo, south of Voronezh.

Voronezh is the location of the VASO airframer where the Russian-built examples of the An-148 are manufactured. The emergencies ministry says the aircraft was on a training flight at the time of the accident.

Rossiya became the first operator of the An-148 but has complained about the reliability of the type.

Russian authorities recently certified the stretched version of the aircraft, designated the An-158, which is capable of accommodating 99 passengers.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the aircraft was being demonstrated for a delegation from Myanmar.

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