Aeroflot Flight 558
Aeroflot Flight 558 (Russian: Рейс 558 Аэрофлота Reys 558 Aeroflota) was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Karaganda to Moscow that crashed on 31 August 1972, before being able to make an emergency landing in Magnitogorsk. All 102 people on board the flight were killed when the Ilyushin Il-18V operating the route crashed into a field in the Abzelilovsky District.
An Aeroflot Ilyushin 18V, similar to the one involved in the accident
|Date||31 August 1972|
|Site||in the Abzelilovsky District |
|Aircraft type||Ilyushin Il-18V|
|Flight origin||Sary-Arka Airport|
|Destination||Domodedovo International Airport|
The aircraft involved in the accident was an Ilyushin Il-18V registered CCCP-74298 to the Kazakhstan division of Aeroflot. The Il-18V completed final assembly and was delivered to Air Mali in 1962. In 1971, the aircraft was transferred to Aeroflot. At the time of the crash, the airliner had sustained 10,798 flight hours and 4,249 pressurization cycles.
Nine crew members were aboard the flight. The cockpit crew consisted of:
- Captain Vladimir Ishutin
- Copilot Vyacheslav Tichotsky
- Navigator Alexander Dubolazov
- Flight engineer Yevgeny Prokopov
- Radio operator Nikolai Laptyaev
The flight was monitored by Anatoly Kuzovlev from the Ministry of Interior.
The crew of flight 558 began preparations for takeoff at 08:31 Moscow time. Less than an hour and a half later at 09:57 the flight took off from Sary-Arka Airport and began climbing to an altitude of 7200 meters. The crew estimated to the air traffic controller that they expected to fly over Magnitogorsk at 10:11, but 45 kilometers from Magnitogorsk at 10:08:20 the crew reported the presence of smoke in the cabin. The flight was then granted permission to descend to an altitude of 4,800 meters and then switched over to Magnitogorsk air traffic control. The flight crew then informed Magnitogorsk that there was a fire in the second cargo compartment, and requested instructions for an emergency landing. The flight was given permission to descend again at 10:12:32, approximately 20-30 kilometers from Magnitogorsk Airport and at an altitude of 2400–2700 meters began a turn to switch from a bearing of 295° to reach an initial bearing of 185° in the first of a series of maneuvers. After the first turn when the flight had reached a bearing of 90° and an altitude of 600 meters, the controller instructed them to start turning for 135°, and the flight proceeded to turn. When the flight was instructed to head for 185°, the crew confirmed hearing the instructions but did not execute the maneuver. At 10:15:32 the controller informed the crew the flight was going off course, heading away from the airport; the crew only responded by saying "The smoke in the cockpit is very bad." At 10:15:50 the Il-18 was in dangerous proximity to the ground; the pilots responded by pulling on the controls, putting the engines in takeoff mode, and retracting the landing gear simultaneously, but the sudden overload on the aircraft caused by the maneuvers along with the passengers moving to the front of the plane to avoid the smoke caused an unanticipated reduction in climb. At 10:16:19 the flight radioed only the phrase "Goodbye," but did not respond to the controller instructing them to enter a course for landing. The Il-18 crashed into a field 23 kilometers from the airport.
Investigators discovered that all the passengers in the cabin died from smoke inhalation before the aircraft crashed; only the captain, copilot, and navigator were killed by the impact of the crash because they were in the cockpit.
Four intact explosive shells were found among the remains of the crash. Investigators determined the cause of the fire in the Ilyushin Il-18 cargo compartment to be caused by explosives from passenger baggage that were prohibited from being placed in air cargo; the explosive materials then ignited highly flammable passenger baggage. There were no previous cases of a fire in the second baggage compartment of the Il-18 caused by mechanical failure, but there were four cases between 1970 and 1972 of passenger baggage spontaneously burning. The final report stated:
The cause of the accident was the rapid development of the fire that had developed in the second trunk, which led to a complete or partial loss of the crew's working capacity; causing the impossibility of following visual flight and observation of instruments due to smoke in the pilot's cabin resulting in the impossibility of a successful flight outcome.
After the accident the design of the Ilyushin Il-18 was modified to allow people in the cabin to enter the second baggage compartment if necessary. No memorial to the crash was built.
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- "Катастрофа Ил-18В Казахского УГА близ Магнитогорска". www.airdisaster.ru. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
- "Последний полет | Абзелил". abzelil-pressa.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
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