Charred and mangled corpses of 9 killed in plane crash to be IDed by DNA experts

Forensic experts are to identify the charred and mangled corpses on board a plane that crashed in harsh weather conditions in Siberia when its controls "froze".

Burned and dismembered remains of six people have been found in Irkutsk, Russia in the wreckage of the Belarus-owned An-12 cargo aircraft which exploded in a fireball on hitting the ground, say reports.

Seven of those on board the 53-year-old plane have been named, but it is believed an additional two unnamed people had boarded the flight.

"DNA tests are required to identify the bodies," said an emergency service source.

Irkutsk regional governor Igor Kobzev said at the scene: "We see only one thing, that, unfortunately, everyone has died.

"We have fragments of the bodies."

Later a source said: "There were seven crew members and two accompanying persons on board.

"Six bodies and four fragments of bodies have been found at the site."

The plane belonging to Grodno Avia was at an altitude of 750ft as it made a second landing attempt in Irkutsk, where the temperature was just below freezing with reports of "rain and snow".

It suddenly plummeted in "three or four seconds" to 390ft "and then disappeared from the radar", said an air traffic controller.

Initial analysis of the charred black box suggests a problem with icing in the steering and wing mechanisms, reported Interfax and other news outlets.

The plane, built in 1968, crashed four miles from Irkutsk near the village of Pivovarikha.

An inferno covered some 3,330 square feet.

The Soviet-made Antonov aircraft had not been de-iced on take off from Chukotka, Russia’s most easterly region, but had made a refuelling stop in Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city, en route to Irkutsk.

Those on board were citizens of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

A criminal probe has been opened with forensic experts from Moscow sent to the crash site, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.

"Investigators are considering all possible causes of the crash. Among them are pilot error, weather conditions, and also technical failure of the aircraft," said a committee source.

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An aviation source said: "Engine failure due to a bird strike is also being considered."

The plane had flown to Chukotka to deliver winter food supplies for remote settlements.

Belarus' Transport and Communications Ministry said: "The aircraft was piloted by an experienced crew comprising seven people, including two citizens of the Russian Federation, two from Ukraine, and three of the Republic of Belarus.

"The captain had over 12,000 hours of flying experience, including over 7,000 hours on the An-12."

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