Bek Air Crash Update, by Travel Radar Correspondent Ankur Deo

In continuation with our recent article titled: ‘Bek Air Disaster: Fokker-100 crashes in Almaty’, we now have some information about what may have caused the crash. The aircraft barely took off the runway and crashed into a two-storey building, thereby, killing twelve people on board, and seriously injuring many others.

The investigation commission has not yet sent the black box of the aircraft to Moscow, Russia, for further analysis; and hence, for now, we can only rely on the initial findings and evidences.

Image Credits: NewsForze

According to new reports that have come up after the accident, three possible reasons (or a combination of them) may have led to the crash, which are:

  1. Accumulation of ice on the wings
  2. Wake turbulence
  3. Take off at lower speed

Let’s talk about the first possibility. One of the survivors, Aslan Nazarliev, said:

‘The left-wing jolted really hard, I noticed that then jolted the right. And the plane began swinging as a boat. When we took off, the plane began to shake very hard and I knew it was going to fall … All the people who stepped on the wing fell, because there was ice. I cannot say that [before taking off] the wings were not sprayed with antifreeze, but the fact is that there was ice’.

It must be noted that the temperature was a freezing -12 degree Celsius when the accident occurred. If proper anti-ice measures were not taken, this might very well be the reason behind the crash.

Let’s shift our focus to the second possibility: Wake turbulence. Bek Air CEO Nurlan Zhumasultanov said the jet may have been cleared for take-off too soon. In calm weather, wake turbulence may persist for up to two to three minutes. The reports from air traffic control state that there was an interval of 1 minute, 52 second between take off of the Bek Air flight, and the previous one. Thus, wake turbulence might well be a possibility, but we can’t say for sure until the Flight Data Recorder(FDR) is analysed.

The Bek Air Flight which crashed (Registered UP-F1007). Image Credits: ifnNews

And now, the third possibility: Take off at lower speed. Bek Air officials had suspected that the aircraft might have lifted off the ground sooner than it should. However, the state owned air traffic control company has firmly denied these claims. Again, we will have for the FDR analysis to this suspicion to hold ground.

Any aviation accident is always a result of a chain of adverse events, which, for the most part, can be avoided. So, was this accident avoidable? There have been long-standing safety worries about Kazakh airlines. Four years ago, the US State Department had said that there were serious and persistent lapses in safety oversight of commercial air service in some Kazakhstan registered airlines.

As we wait for the FDR to be analysed, we will keep a close eye on the developments on this crash.

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