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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Plane's Record Scrutinized After Accident

The safety record of the Tupolev 154 airliner has again been brought into question after Thursday's crash, despite the fact there is as yet no evidence that a mechanical failure caused the accident.


The Tu-154, known as the "workhorse" plane of the former Soviet Union's air fleet, has been involved in a number of accidents since the deregulation of Aeroflot in 1992:


?Jan. 13, 1995: A Russian Tu-154 makes an emergency landing in Abkan, Siberia, when oil supply is cut off to two of the aircraft's three engines;


?Dec. 7, 1994: A Khabarovsk Airlines Tu-154 crashes into a mountain near Khabarovsk, killing 97 people. It takes search parties a week and a half to find the wreckage.


?July 7, 1994: Vietnam Airlines stops use of its Russian-supplied fleet of Tu-154a because of safety concerns;


?June 6, 1994: A China Northwest Airlines Tu-154 explodes in mid-air between Xian and Canton, killing 146 passengers and 14 crew;


?Jan. 3, 1994: A Baikal Air Tu-154 crashes near Mamony, Siberia, killing 125 people.


A 1993 Russian aviation committee report said the Tu-154 was most prone to trouble among Soviet-designed civilian aircraft. The report also said air safety had been jeopardized by "gross safety violations by ground and air personnel."


Paul Duffy, an aviation consultant, defended the Tu-154's record Friday. "The safety record in terms of flying hours and passengers carried is a little bit better than the Boeing 727, the most comparable [U.S.] aircraft," he said. "Since the aircraft was designed in 1972, 30 Tu-154s have crashed. This is not a particularly high figure."