RusAir Flight 9605 (also RusLine Flight 243) was a passenger flight which crashed near Petrozavodsk Airport, Petrozavodsk, Russia, on 20 June 2011. 47 of the 52 on board died. The aircraft involved, a Tupolev Tu-134A-3, was operating a RusAir scheduled domestic flight (as a RusLine service) from Domodedovo International Airport, Moscow, to Petrozavodsk. It crashed on approach in bad weather, coming down on A133 highway about 1,200 m (3,900 ft) short of the runway, shortly after 23:40 local time (19:40 UTC). As a result of the crash, all Tu-134s were to be withdrawn from commercial service in Russia.
The aircraft involved was a Tupolev Tu-134A-3, registration RA-65691, c/n 63195. It was manufactured and first flown in 1980.
The aircraft crashed onto the A133 highway while on final approach to Petrozavodsk Airport, about 1,200 m (3,900 ft) short of the runway. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. The crash happened about midnight local time in reportedly poor weather, including heavy fog and the aircraft had apparently attempted to land on the highway before crashing. The head of the federal air transport agency said the plane had hit a 15-metre (49 ft) tall pine tree before it crashed, adding that there was no fire or explosion on board the aircraft before the incident.
According to airport officials, the plane was flying off-course by about 200 metres (660 ft) and started its descent much earlier than appropriate. Petrozavodsk ground control said they recommended the pilots take a second approach due to the low visibility and bad weather conditions. The pilot, according to the official, replied that he would attempt the first approach and said he could land the plane. According to the office of the emergency ministry in Karelia, the republic in which the incident occurred, radio contact with the plane had been lost at 23:40 local time (19:40 UTC), shortly before the aircraft crashed.
There were 43 passengers and nine crew members on board, a total of 52, of which 47 were killed and the remaining 5 injured. Of the survivors, one was a flight attendant. The other crew members were among the fatalities.
Three people who survived the initial crash later died of their injuries.
FIFA football referee Vladimir Pettay was among the dead, as well the CEO and chief designer of Gidropress Sergei Ryzhov, and the deputy CEO and chief designer, Gennady Banyuk, also the chief designer of the Russian VVER-1000 for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India and Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Iran, Nikolai Trunov.
By around 01:00 on 21 June, the fire at the crash site was extinguished. Those injured were initially sent to local hospitals, but it was planned to transport them on to Moscow via an Ilyushin Il-76 with doctors and psychologists on board.
On 23 June, at a conference of senior Russian government officials, it was announced that as a result of the incident the government planned to remove all Tu-134s from commercial service, as well as ban the operation of aircraft carrying more than nine people or weighing more than 5,700 kilograms (12,600 lb) lacking a ground proximity warning system.
In September 2011, the report into the crash was published by the Interstate Aviation Committee. According to the committee, the primary cause of the incident was the refusal of the crew to perform a go-around and further descent below the minimum safe altitude in the absence of visual contact with the approach lights and landmarks, which led to collision with trees and terrain.
The contributing factors included:Poor crew resource management (CRM) during the approach, expressed in the captain’s submission to the navigator’s will, the latter being increasingly active under the influence of a mild alcohol intoxication, and the actual removal of the second pilot from the aircraft control loop at the final stage of approach;
Navigator's performance under a mild alcohol intoxication (0.8 ‰);
Unjustified weather forecast for visibility, cloud base and fog at Petrozavodsk and the discrepancy between the transmitted and actual weather at runway approach 12.
Failure to use the automatic direction finder (ADF) and other equipment for an integrated control of the airplane during the final approach, while using the satellite navigation system, KLN-90B (in violation of the Airplane Flight Manual which prohibits the use of GPS information during final approach).