Kolavia Flight 348

On 1 January 2011, Kolavia Flight 348, a Tupolev Tu-154 on a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Surgut to Moscow, Russia, caught fire and burned down while taxiing out for take-off. Passengers were evacuated, but three were killed and 43 injured. A subsequent investigation concluded that the fire had started in an electric panel for which maintenance was never prescribed.[1][2][3]

Kolavia Flight 348
Report RA-85588 Page 26 extracted image.png
The tail section of RA-85588 after the fire
Date1 January 2011 (2011-01-01)
SummaryElectrical fire during taxiing
SiteSurgut International Airport, Surgut, Russia
61°20′30″N 73°24′10″E / 61.34167°N 73.40278°E / 61.34167; 73.40278Coordinates: 61°20′30″N 73°24′10″E / 61.34167°N 73.40278°E / 61.34167; 73.40278
Aircraft typeTupolev Tu-154B-2
IATA flight No.7K348
ICAO flight No.KGL348
Call signKOGALYM348
Flight originSurgut International Airport, Surgut, Russia
DestinationDomodedovo International Airport, Moscow, Russia


On the morning of 1 January 2011, Flight 348 was preparing to depart at Surgut International Airport for a flight to Moscow. At 10:00 local time (05:00 UTC), as the aircraft was being pushed back and was starting its engines, a fire developed in the centre section of the fuselage, quickly spreading inside the passenger cabin.[1]

The engines and the APU were immediately shut down and the emergency slides were deployed for an emergency evacuation. Within four minutes, fire engines reached the Tupolev and started dousing the flames with foam, but were hampered by the presence of survivors near the aircraft. By 10:20, the aircraft was completely ablaze, with aviation fuel leaking and spreading the flames across the apron.[1]

The fire was brought under control at around 10:40; by then, only the tail section and the outer portion of the wings had survived the blaze. Three passengers were killed and 43 were injured, four critically, from smoke inhalation or burns.[4][5][6]


RA-85588, the Tu-154 involved, seen at Domodedovo Airport three months before the accident

The aircraft involved was a tri-jet Tupolev Tu-154B-2, registration RA-85588, msn 83A/588. The aircraft first flew in 1983. It entered service with Aeroflot as CCCP-85588 and was re-registered RA-85588 in 1993. It then served with Mavial Magadan Airlines between 1994 and 1999, when it began service with Vladivostok Air. Kogalymavia (trading as Kolavia) acquired the aircraft in 2007.[7]

Passengers and crewEdit

The aircraft was carrying 116 passengers, 8 crew, and 10 off-duty employees of Kogalymavia,[1] although a statement by the Russia's Ministry of Health and Social Development gave figures of 117 passengers and 18 crew.[8] Among the passengers were members of the 1990s Russian boy band Na Na, who managed to evacuate safely from the plane.[4]


Following the accident, Russia's Federal Transport Oversight Agency advised airlines that they should stop using the Tu-154B until the accident had been investigated.[9] This would affect 14 aircraft, all other Tu-154s in service are Tu-154Ms. Kogalymavia pledged to pay compensation of руб 20,000 to those passengers involved in the accident. The Russian insurance company Sogaz stated that those injured in the accident would receive between руб 20,000 and руб 2,000,000 compensation. The families of those killed would receive руб 2,000,000 compensation. Authorities in the Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Yugra had allocated руб 10,000,000 to assist the families of those injured in the accident.[10]


MAK's final investigation report

Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) opened an investigation into the accident.[11] A separate criminal investigation was opened to investigate allegations of breaching transport and fire safety rules. Both flight recorders were recovered and analysed.[9] Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations stated that the initial investigations pointed towards an electrical short circuit being the cause of the fire, which started in the central area of the fuselage, ahead of the rear-mounted engines.[2][12]

In September 2011, the MAK released its final report in Russian, confirming that the probable cause of the fire was an arc occurring in an electric panel on the right side of the fuselage hosting the generator contactors. Shortly after engine start, the crew connected the generators to the electrical network as usual, but the badly worn out contactors failed to operate properly, resulting in an abnormal circuit configuration that produced currents 10 to 20 times higher than their nominal values, giving rise to an electrical arc. The MAK determined that no maintenance schedule existed for the electric board in question.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hradecky, Simon. "Accident: Kolavia T154 at Surgut on Jan 1st 2011, engine fire". Aviation Herald. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b Technical failure likely cause of Surgut plane explosion – investigation, RIAN, 3 January 2011
  3. ^ Death toll in plane explosion in Siberia reaches three (Update 5), RIAN, 1 January 2011
  4. ^ a b "Russia pop group Na-Na describe plane fire 'panic'". BBC News. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Fatal fire destroys Kolavia Tu-154 at Surgut". FlightGlobal. Archived from the original on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Three dead in plane explosion in Siberia". Sky News. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  7. ^ "RA-85888 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Справка по состоянию на 19:00 мск 01 января 2011 о состоянии пассажиров и членов экипажа рейса 7K348, Сургут – Москва, ООО "Авиакомпания Когалымавиа"" (in Russian). Ministry of Health and Social Development. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Russia grounds all Tu-154Bs after fatal fire". BBC News. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Russia's transport watchdog urges airlines to ditch Tu-154B passenger jets". RIA Novosti. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  11. ^ "Ту-154Б RA-85588 1 January 2011" (in Russian). Межгосударственный авиационный комитет. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  12. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David. "Tu-154 fire sparked by electrical short-circuit: ministry". FlightGlobal. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.

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