The final words from the cockpit of the Russian airliner crash that killed 71 last month has been released—and they will send a shiver down your spine.
The crash happened on February 11th, just minutes after Saratov Airlines Flight 703 departed from Moscow’s Domodedevo Airport.
What should have been a 1,000-mile domestic flight for the Antonov An-148 airliner ended tragically, killing all 65 passengers and six crew. Captain Valery Gubanov and co-pilot Sergei Gambaryan were heard on the recording as they attempted to gain control of the plummeting aircraft. A transcript of the audio recordings has been released.
Gubanov frantically pleaded with the co-pilot to increase altitude:
Why are you going down? Where? Altitude! Altitude! Altitude! Up!
Then, as it became clear that there was nothing more they could do, Gambaryan uttered the final words before the recording was cut off:
That's it, we're f*****.
In search of a cause for what went wrong, the Interstate Aviation Committee deduced that the plane became uncontrollable due to inaccurate speed data. A preliminary analysis of the on-board flight recorder appeared to show the plane having problems once it reached at an altitude of around 1,300m (4,265 ft), roughly two-and-a-half minutes after take off, with instruments displaying inaccurate speed data from speed sensors, also known as Pitots, which measure fluid flow velocity.
Russian media outlets have been reporting that these speed sensors appear to have iced over as a result of the pilot's failure to activate certain heating equipment prior to takeoff. De-icing procedures such as those the pilot declined, are optional and as such are left up to the crew, based on the weather conditions.
Once the crew members detected a problem, they reportedly switched off the plane's autopilot and eventually took the plane into a dive.
Russian media: found transcripts of pilots' conversation before crash of #an148 plane Saratov Airlines clearly indicating pilot error ..and a Rosaviation commission report showing a quarter of staff not licensed to work in aviation, pilots without licences, working 22hr shifts— Polina Ivanova (@polina__ivanova) March 6, 2018
Over 700 people are participating in search operations in the area, tramping through deep snow. According to the BBC, over "1,400 body parts and hundreds of plane fragments have been recovered from the crash site." As part of the identification program, emergencies ministry is collecting DNA samples from relatives of those who were on the flight.
The BBC reports that:
Russia's Investigative Committee said the plane was intact when it crashed and that an explosion happened on impact.
Regardless of what caused the accident or who or what was at fault, 65 people tragically lost their lives that day, including a child and two teens. Our hearts go out to the victims' families.