Dmitry Medvedev also held a meeting on investigating the causes of the crash and providing assistance to the victims’ families. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Emergency Situations Ministry, Transport Ministry, Investigative Committee and Presidential Executive Office.
The President expressed his condolences to the families of the crash victims and all fans of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team.
The Yak-42 plane, carrying the Lokomotiv hockey team players, crashed the previous evening near Yaroslavl.
Three days of mourning have been declared in the Yaroslavl Region.
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Meeting on investigating the causes of the Yak-42 crash and providing assistance to the victims’ families
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: First of all I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the crash near Yaroslavl.
This tragedy came as a great shock to the whole country. That is always the case with such accidents but this crash was particularly tragic because the plane was carrying the core members of one of Russia’s and Yaroslavl’s most loved and most successful hockey teams. This is a great loss not only for the players’ families but for the whole nation and for all hockey fans.
The families of those killed and injured will receive the necessary support. The Governor [of the Yaroslavl Region Sergei Vakhrukov] and I have just discussed this. Everything must be done to resolve their financial problems in accordance with the law and the contracts of the players and coaches.
I have already instructed the Investigative Committee and the Government to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the crash. A specially created commission will be in charge of the investigation. All of its conclusions must be made public because this is a huge tragedy and a serious air crash that has great resonance in society. The results of the investigation will be reported to me and I will monitor the process personally.
We have discussed civil aviation safety on many occasions in the past. This is a serious problem for us. At the same time, major decisions have been made: instructions were issued, substantial funds allocated, airfield infrastructure modernised and new technical equipment provided. Nevertheless, the problems persist, and this has been confirmed by a spate of air accidents this year.
I do not want to prejudge the outcome of the technical and legal investigation. Nevertheless, we must draw appropriate conclusions from the results obtained. These findings should serve as a basis for decisions to be taken, including a radical change in the field of civil aviation, in the acquisition of modern vehicles, despite the high cost to the budget. Moreover, these decisions must be made regardless of the vehicles’ country of origin.
Similarly, we must pay our utmost attention to the training of pilots and flight crews. There are problems in this area, too, and it must also become our priority.
The human error, which we hear about after such air crashes, is always a possible factor in any country. As a rule, it is the main reason for such tragedies but we must do everything possible to reduce this factor to a minimum.
It is vital to agree on the airlines’ operation standards. It has been repeatedly mentioned that there is a large number of airlines but so far I have not seen any decisions regarding their mergers or closure. We have talked about closing down small companies that do not comply with the regulations. I emphasise that I am not talking now about this particular crash because it’s too early to draw any conclusions; we must conduct a thorough investigation first. I'm talking in general about the situation in the industry. The number of airlines must be reduced dramatically, and this must be done in a very short time so that the remaining airlines have the resources, the means and the money to service their planes and to attract qualified staff and pay them decent salaries.
Let's get down to work. I want to hear your opinions, your position on this issue.