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Russian Emergencies Ministry helicopter reported missing, found sunken in lake

5 February, 2024 Monday

The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations helicopter that went missing in Karelia crashed and sunk in Lake Onega


The press service of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reported the information.

Russian services conducted reconnaissance in the waters near the village of Derevyannoe, where they discovered the wreckage of the helicopter. The wreckage was found approximately 11 km from the shore at a depth of 50 meters.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations emphasized that the helicopter crew was highly experienced.

"The helicopter was operated by a skilled crew with extensive flight experience. Throughout their tenure in the Russian Emergencies Ministry, these specialists have been involved in numerous search and rescue missions," the statement reads.

Russia has set up an operational headquarters and a commission to investigate the accident, with more than 140 specialists and 33 pieces of equipment, as well as divers, involved in the work.

Sanctions against the Russian aviation industry and their consequences

Russia was put under very tough sanctions on the aviation industry in 2022: most of the world's countries closed their skies to Russian airlines, and lessors, mainly from Ireland and Bermuda, demanded that all aircraft be returned to their owners. These aircraft were also stripped of their flight safety certificates. Russia is trying to circumvent the restrictions and is actually starting to pirate the aircraft. They are also hastily re-registering them. However, this does not eliminate the impact of sanctions. So, at the moment, Russian airlines can only fly domestically and to a few "friendly" countries, and then only as long as the aircraft are in good technical condition, since foreign companies will not supply them with repairs or spare parts. Leading aircraft manufacturers also joined the sanctions.

On September 14, the ICAO issued a "red flag" to Russia, indicating serious problems in civil aviation safety.

On October 1, Russia was not re-elected as a member of the governing board of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at the UN, and on October 4, it was finally expelled from the governing bodies of this most authoritative structure in the industry.

Since the end of 2022, incidents with passenger aircraft have become more frequent in Russia. Sanctions have led to numerous breakdowns and accidents.

In June 2023, reports indicated that domestic air travel in Russia had risen by almost a third due to sanctions and restrictions on subsidies.

At the end of August, the United States imposed new sanctions on Russian airlines. The Department of Commerce included aircraft of Russian companies engaged in business transportation on the sanctions list.

In the fall of 2023, Russia was disconnected from the Swiss SITA system, which accounts for about 90% of the civil aviation market and is used to exchange information, including between airlines and airports.

In October, S7 Airlines decided to cut its fall and winter schedule due to problems with the repair of engines installed on Airbus A320 and A320/A321neo aircraft. At the time, 21 of the company's aircraft (20% of the fleet) were idle, including 13 of the 39 neo-family aircraft. Sources in the Ministry of Transport explained this by problems with the GTF engines installed on the aircraft, manufactured by the American company Pratt & Whitney, which are not repaired either in Russia or in "friendly" countries.

Russian media reported that in the first 8 days of December, 11 incidents had already occurred with Rossiya airplanes, the last two of which took place on December 8.

In late December, Russia allocated more than $12 billion in government subsidies and loans to keep its aviation sector alive after Western sanctions made it impossible to supply key spare parts and maintenance services.

On January 15, the Russian aviation authorities banned the two largest airlines, Aeroflot and Rossiya, from flying to Egypt due to the risk of arresting 27 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

  • Earlier, a Russian Emergencies Ministry Mi-8 helicopter with 3 people on board disappeared from the radar during a training flight in Karelia.
  • In January, a Russian private jet crashed in the mountains of Afghanistan.
  • In late January, a Yakutia airline plane made an emergency landing in Russia due to smoke.
  • Russia's largest private airline, S7, experienced several engine malfunctions within a few days. In mid-January, the company announced its intention to reduce the staff of its Moscow office due to malfunctions in aircraft caused by the sanctions.
  • In total, according to the Moscow Times, Russian airlines' planes broke down at least 15 times in January 2024.
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