Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Death toll raised to 15 in military plane crash over Yemeni capital, surprise breakdown behind the crash

By Nasser ArrAbyee,19/02/2013

A surprise breakdown was behind the crash of the military plane over Sanaa said the the ministry of defense before investigations are finished. 

Three rescue soldiers were killed  to raise the death toll to 15 at least including three women and two children as a result of a crash of Russian-made fighter jet over residential area in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, said officials and eyewitnesses and medics Tuesday. 

The plane, Sukhoi 22, which was allegedly in training trip at the outskirts of Sanaa, crashed over Al Qadsyah street, few meters away from the remaining tents and ruins of the Change Square at the rush hour of the day. 

 Dead body of the pilot, captain Mohammed Shaker 34, who was only on board, was found charred. Four houses  at least were damaged one of them completely and four cars and one motor cycle were seen in the street damaged one of them completely burnt with the driver  charred inside.  The pilot was father of a son and daughter, and he graduated from aviation air defense college in 2004. 

This is the second Russian-made military plane to be crashed over the capital within about three months.  The army and security institutions are being restructured after relatives of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh were replaced. 

The black box of the the crashed plane was taken to the command of the air base in Sanaa.  Thousands of people were came to the site obstructing policemen and rescue teams despite warnings from loudspeakers to stay away.  The panic spread over in the whole city as local TV channels were covering live from roof of houses.  Children and women were crying.

 " I and my family waging for lunch, when heard buildings being destroyed, and then we saw the flames and smoke rising," said Mohmmed Saleh after he took his wife and his daughter to  hospital for treatment from injuries. 

A lot of anger could be observed in the faces of people in the site and the whole city and some was saying this is not accidental it is premeditated by the conflicting parties over army and security. 

 A lot of questions remain unanswered about this incident. And whether  the plane was really in training trip or participating in the ongoing confrontations with Al Qaeda fighters in Al Manaseh stronghold in Radaa about 300 km southeast of Sanaa. Why the pilot was alone on board, if it was in training, some were wondering. 

A total of 10 officers including high ranking commander were killed last November  when the Russian-made antonove crashed over empty market in the middle of Sanaa. The black box information indicated later that the plane was hit with a number of bullet from the lands.