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August 5, 2016

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai – Wikinews, the free news source

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai

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Friday, August 5, 2016

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On Wednesday, an Emirates Boeing 777 crash-landed in Dubai with 282 passengers and 18 crew on board, according to the airline. This resulted in the death of a firefighter, Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan, who died fighting the fire at the crash. The Director-General of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, Saif Al Suwaidi, praised Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan’s sacrifice in saving hundreds of passengers.

File photo of the aircraft involved, 2013.
Image: Aeroprints.com (flickr).

According to passenger accounts, the pilot announced an emergency landing minutes before the crash. Then the airliner, flight EK52, was engulfed in smoke at landing and soon after burst into flames. Passengers spoke of their fear.

The airport was shut down for four hours after the incident and all crew members and passengers on the flight from India were accounted for and safe, with fourteen reported hospitalised with minor injuries.

The cause of the crash has not been officially announced, however reports indicate the plane’s landing gear may not have deployed as the plane landed. An aviation safety consultant, in remarks to Australia’s ABC News, noted safely and efficiently evacuating all the passengers was a significant achievement, considering the size of the aircraft.

The airline said two people on the flight were Australian, eleven from the United Arab Emirates, 24 from the the UK, and 226 from India. The co-pilot of the crashed plane was an Australian with approximately 7,000 hours flying experience, according to Emirates chairman Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who also said the crash was not due to any fault in security.



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March 20, 2016

Flydubai plane crash leaves 62 dead

Flydubai plane crash leaves 62 dead – Wikinews, the free news source

Flydubai plane crash leaves 62 dead

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

File photo of Flydubai Boeing 737-800 (A6-FDN), the aircraft involved in the crash.
Image: Mohammadreza Farhadi Aref.

A Flydubai passenger jet has crashed in Russia, killing everyone aboard, 62 people including a crew of seven. The aircraft was making its second attempt to land early yesterday morning in Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russia, when it crashed.

Flydubai confirmed the crash on landing of flight FZ981. Four passengers were children. “We are doing all we can to gather information as quickly as possible. At this moment our thoughts and prayers are with our passengers and our crew who were on board the aircraft,” the airline said in a statement.

The flight was scheduled to land at 1:20 a.m. local time, according to Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, however went down at about 3:40 a.m. Investigations are ongoing.

CEO of Flydubai Ghaith al-Ghaith said, “We will have information about the circumstances of the incident and the black box in the future, and an investigation is being conducted in cooperation with the Russian authorities and we are waiting to see the results”.

Budget airline FlyDubai has been flying since 2009, based in the United Arab Emirates. This is the first crash in the airline’s history.

Mr. Ghaith said the pilot and co-pilot each had more than 5,000 hours’ flight experience. Russian officials said the international crew was made up of one Russian, one Cypriot, two Spaniards, a Colombian, and one each from Seychelles and Kyrgyzstan.

Security footage from a camera pointed in the direction of the airport shows the blast as the plane crash-landed.



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December 5, 2015

German MPs vote for action against IS in Syria

German MPs vote for action against IS in Syria

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

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Yesterday, German Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to approve a non-combat German role assisting allies bombing Islamic State in Syria. MPs voted 445 to support military involvement, with 146 against and seven abstentions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from file
Image: FNDE.

Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, brought the vote for military action against IS to parliament following the Paris attacks on November 13. The approved action does not allow for German combat against IS, but approves the military to provide 1,200 troops, and reconnaissance and tanker aircraft as well as a frigate to support allies attacking IS in Syria.

Following the attacks in Paris, the United Nations Security Council accepted a resolution drafted by France which allows United Nations members to “take all necessary measures” in the fight against IS. Norbert Röttgen from Germany’s largest political party the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) said diplomatic efforts “would not stand a chance” without military action.

A statement from the Germany’s army said they are due to deploy their military “on the territory of states whose governments have given approval” to target IS. They are also set to increase soldier numbers in Iraq to 150 where they are training and arming Peshmerga fighters.

Support for German action in Syria follows the first attacks by the United Kingdom when it bombed an oilfield controlled by IS in Omar on Thursday. The United States has led a coalition campaign since 2014 bombing IS in Syria which was joined by France in late September.

A member of Germany’s Green Party, Anton Hofreiter, questioned if military action has come too early without a wider plan, saying airstrikes alone “do not amount to a military strategy”. Sahra Wagenknecht of Germany’s Left Party argued “it is simply a lie” that German action will impact negatively on IS.

Another Green Party MP, Simone Peter, previously questioned the legality of German help in Syria. Germany’s Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, said military action is lawful, telling Tagesspiegel newspaper that it “neither violates international law nor the constitution”((de)).



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December 4, 2015

UK begins airstrikes against IS in Syria

UK begins airstrikes against IS in Syria

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Friday, December 4, 2015

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The government of the United Kingdom has said Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers began airstrikes yesterday against Islamic State targets in Syria. The bombings follow British Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to support action against IS in Syria on Wednesday.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, from file.
Image: Chatham House.

RAF Tornado bombers based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus attacked oilfields in Syria which are controlled by and fund IS. UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the airstrikes were designed to deliver “a very real blow on the oil and revenue” of IS.

A Ministry of Defence statement said six “elements of the oilfield infrastructure were targeted” by the Tornados with support from other aircraft. It said sensors on the aircraft determined the targets were clear of non-combatants.

On Wednesday, MPs held a ten-hour debate on air strikes against IS, during which UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged them to support the action. They voted 397 to 223 to join the United States and France who are already bombing IS targets in Syria.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, voted against airstrikes, arguing the need for bombings “did not stack up”. Mr Cameron also failed to get support from the Scottish National Party (SNP), almost all of whose MPs voted against taking action in Syria.

Following the airstrikes, Prime Minister Cameron said they had been “good for the country” and indicated “patience” would be needed in fighting IS. Mr Fallon said the UK are due to bomb more IS targets in Syria “in the next few days and weeks”.

Six Typhoon warplanes along with an Airbus A400M carrying engineers, ground crew and supplies left RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland yesterday to travel to Cyprus. Two further Tornados from RAF Marham in Norfolk, England are to join the planes based in Cyprus.



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German MPs vote for action aganst IS in Syria

German MPs vote for action aganst IS in Syria

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Friday, December 4, 2015

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On Friday, German Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to approve a non-combat German role assisting allies bombing Islamic State in Syria. MPs voted 445 to support military involvement, with 146 against and seven abstentions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from file
Image: FNDE.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel brought the vote for military action against IS to parliament due to the Paris attacks on November 13. The approved action does not allow for German combat against IS, but approves the military to provide reconnaissance aircraft, tanker aircraft and a frigate to support allies attacking IS in Syria.

Following the Paris attacks, the United Nations Security Council accepted a resolution drafted by France which allows United Nations members to “take all necessary measures” in the fight against IS. Norbert Röttgen from Germany’s biggest political party the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) said today “diplomacy would not stand a chance” without military action from member states.

A statement from the Germany’s army said they will deploy their military “on the territory of states whose governments have given approval” to target IS. They will also increase soldier numbers in Iraq to 150 where they are training and arming Pesherga fighters.

Support for German military involvement in Syria follows the first attacks by the United Kingdom on Thursday when it bombed an oilfield controlled by IS in Omar. The US have been bombing IS in Syria since 2014 and they were joined by France in November.

A member of Germany’s Green Party Anton Hofreiter questioned whether military action alone is the right approach, saying today: “Airstrikes on their own do not amount to a military strategy”. Speaking after the vote, Sahra Wagenknecht of Germany’s Left Party argued military action against IS will not defeat them: “It is simply a lie that this military deployment will weaken Isis.”

Another Green Party MP Simone Peter had previously questioned the legality of German involvement in Syria. German Justice Minister, Heiko Mass, said German military action is legal, telling Tagesspigel newspaper that it “neither violates international law nor the constitution”, adding “we must stop this terrorist gang of murderers.”

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December 3, 2015

UK begins airstrikes in Syria against IS

UK begins airstrikes in Syria against IS

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

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The governenment of the United Kingdom has said Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers began airstrikes on Thursday against Islamic State targets in Syria. This comes after British Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to support action against IS in Syria on Wednesday.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon describes first UK airstrikes in Syria as successful
Image: Chatham House.

RAF Tornado bombers based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus attacked oil fields controlled by IS in Omar, eastern Syria. UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the airstrikes were designed to deliver “a very real blow on the oil and revenue” of IS and described the bombings as “successful”.

On Wednesday, MPs held a ten hour debate on air strikes against IS, during which Prime Minister David Cameron urged MPs to “answer the call from our allies” and support action against IS. MPs voted 397 to 223 in favour of joining the United States and France who are already bombing IS targets in Syria.

Six Typhoon warplanes along with an Airbus A400M carrying engineers, ground crew and supplies left RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland on Thursday to travel to Cyprus. Two further Tornados will also be joining planes based in Cyprus after leaving RAF Marham in Norfolk, England.



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December 2, 2015

Investigators blame pilot error for AirAsia crash into Java Sea

Investigators blame pilot error for AirAsia crash into Java Sea

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee yesterday declared pilot error to be behind the crash of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501. All 162 passengers and crew died when the plane crashed into the Java Sea a year ago.

The crashed aircraft, photographed in April 2014.
Image: Oka Sudiatmika.

The Airbus A320-200 was around 40 minutes from Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport to Singapore’s Changi International Airport when it vanished on December 28. Wreckage and bodies were found floating two days later; National Search and Rescue Agency divers led an international recovery effort but over 50 bodies remain lost.

The pilots were facing a fault with the rudder travel limiter, a part involved in rudder control. They repeatedly received warnings on their Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) system. The first three times Indonesian Pilot Iriyanto and French co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel followed correct procedure only for the fault to recur. The fourth time, they tried something else — based on Flight Data Recorder readouts, investigators believe they reset power to their Flight Augmentation Computers.

The computers are principally responsible for rudder control and aircraft stability. With both computers switched off, the entire fly-by-wire system of semi-automation disconnected, as did the autopilot and autothrust systems. The pilots were now left to fly entirely manually, without automation that protects the aircraft from entering unusual and dangerous positions.

A miscommunication followed. Iriyanto asked Plesel, who was flying, to “pull down”. Plesel pulled the controls down, which pitched the nose up; Iriyanto had wanted to descend. The flight ascended without permission through 36,000ft with a ground speed of 353knts. The aircraft would normally be travelling faster, with a nearby Emirates jet at a ground speed of 503knts at 36,000ft. The aircraft also banked as the disengagement of automation left the rudder off-centre.

A ship carries the aircraft’s recovered tail.
Image: Antonio P. Turretto Ramos, US Navy.

The AirAsia flight reached 38,000ft and entered a stall. The crew did not manage to regain control. The 155 passengers and seven crew died when the plane hit the sea. Most were Indonesians, but for three South Koreans, one Malaysian, one Brit, and French national Plesel.

The fault was traced to cracked solder on a circuit board. It had repeatedly occurred in the weeks before the crash. The investigation concluded maintenance failings contributed to the disaster, but Muhammad Alwi of the Indonesian Transportation Ministry said “Repeated trouble in maintenance is a normal thing[…] If the trouble is fixed in accordance with the manual maintenance procedures, then it’s alright”.

Investigators believe the solder crack is attributable to extreme temperature changes in the unprotected compartment near the tail that houses the component.

The investigation further found the flight crew were untrained in recovering from extreme events. AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes said yesterday “there is much to be learned here for AirAsia, the manufacturer and the aviation industry… We will not leave any stone unturned to make sure the industry learns from this tragic incident”.

The report also dismisses weather as a contributory factor. The flight was diverting around storms in the area.

Iriyanto and Plessel had over 8,000 hours experience between them. Iriyanto had a decade of experience training other pilots, and previous employers include the air force. They spent three minutes struggling to regain control as the pane fell to the sea. Some bodies were recovered around 1,000km away near Sulawesi.

AFP spoke to Terence Fan, an air industry expert from Singapore Management University, who said “It’s a scenario that has played out in air accidents in the past[…] Pilots are either distracted by a faulty equipment or cannot properly solve the issue and something else is brewing in the background.”

One such accident was the loss of Air France Flight 447 in 2009 into the Atlantic. It was investigated by the BEA of France, which also assisted the AirAsia probe. The BEA issued recommendations on how to train pilots after the Air France crash. Ex-BEA boss Jean-Paul Troadec said to AFP “Several recommendations of the (BEA) on the subject of pilot training were clearly not implemented by [AirAsia].”

Indonesia saw such an accident on New Years’ Day 2007 when Adam Air Flight 574 crashed into the Makasser Strait near Sulawesi. The plane suffered a failure on a navigational instrument. While pilots were troubleshooting for this navigational system they first unintentionally disconnected the autopilot, then lost control and crashed into the sea.



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November 27, 2015

UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for British air strikes against IS in Syria

UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for British air strikes against IS in Syria

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Friday, November 27, 2015

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Yesterday, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron urged Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons to support British air strikes against Islamic State in Syria. Mr Cameron said MPs will vote on the issue if he believes he has enough support in the Commons to join allies currently bombing IS targets in Syria.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants to join allies in Syria to tackle Islamic State
Image: Zasitu.

Prime Minister Cameron’s address to MPs responded to a Foreign Affairs Committee report from early this month which discouraged UK involvement against IS in Syria. MPs on the committee raised concerns that there is not a “coherent international strategy” on how to tackle IS in Syria and how to end the ongoing conflict in Syria. The report also questioned the legality of action against IS in Syria.

David Cameron attempted to appease concerns during his speech by outlining the government’s long term strategy which includes humanitarian support in Syria, rebuilding Syria following the current civil war and working with allies against IS. He also said the UK does not “have the luxury of being able to wait until the Syrian conflict is resolved”.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, has said he will not support air strikes. Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech, Corbyn raised several concerns including whether UK involvement will help defeat IS and if air strikes will encourage terrorist attacks in the UK.

Prime Minister Cameron said IS are a threat to UK security and they already see the UK as a target for attacks. He argued Britain cannot “subcontract its security to other countries”, and said action against IS in Syria would increase safety for the UK.

Mr Cameron said he is not going to seek a vote from MPs unless he is confident they will support action against IS in Syria. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s concerns, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell indicated Labour MPs should be given a free vote on the issue, saying: “it is better to allow MPs to make their own minds up”.



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November 26, 2015

New Polish government takes down findings on Russian air disaster

New Polish government takes down findings on Russian air disaster

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Coffins of some of the victims at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, photographed days after the crash.
Image: Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.

The Law and Justice Party of Poland, which took power last week, this week removed web pages featuring the results of an investigation into the Smolensk air disaster in Russia in 2010. The cause of the crash, which killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, is disputed.

The flight was carrying high-profile political figures to attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when thousands of Polish prisoners of war and civilians were killed by the Soviets. All 96 on board died. Amongst the dead were First Lady Maria Kaczyńska, several members of the lower parliamentary house known as the Sejm, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer, National Security Bureau head Aleksander Szczygło, and Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last President of the Polish government-in-exile.

The Law and Justice Party was in power at the time, led then as now by Lech Kaczynski’s identical twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Jaroslaw was himself Prime Minister of Poland from 2006 to 2007. Jaroslaw contested the vacated Presidency later that year but was defeated by Bronislaw Komorowski of the Civic Platform Party. Lech and Jaroslaw co-founded Law and Justice.

Some of the wreckage shortly after the disaster.
Image: Bartosz Staszewski.

Russian and Polish investigations deemed the crash an accident. Edmund Klich, head of the Polish air accident investigatory body, said in 2010 the Polish military pilots of the Tupolev Tu-154 were determined to get the dignitaries through dense fog so they could attend the ceremony. He said the pilots were insufficiently trained and put safety second, whilst Russian air traffic controllers should have diverted the aircraft away from Smolensk. Passengers entered the cockpit during the final stages of the flight.

Government spokesman Elzbieta Witek yesterday said Donald Tusk, a former Prime Minister, should be prosecuted before the State Tribunal, although Witek said this was a personal view and not government policy. Jaroslaw and allies have insinuated Russia purposefully brought the plane down.

Law and Justice accuse Tusk, Prime Minister from 2007 to 2014, of failings before and after the crash. He is accused of not ensuring the President was safe, of not establishing an international investigation, and of allowing Russia to maintain possession of the wreckage.

Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee performed its own investigation blaming solely Poland’s pilots and exonerating the controllers. Upon receiving the first draft of their report in 2010 Tusk branded the contents “unacceptable”, the findings “without foundation”, and the overall result a breach of the Chicago Convention, an international regulatory document on air travel.

Tusk resigned last year to take the European Council Presidency until 2017. Witek said he had “given away” investigative control. Polish minister Adam Lipinski has previously called for Tusk’s prosecution after his European duties conclude, saying he has “a lot to answer for” over the disaster.

Polish conspiracy theorists have been spurred on by Russian refusal to accede to Polish requests to return wreckage, which the Russians claim to still be investigating.

The new Prime Minister is Law and Justice’s Beata Szydlo. Asked on Tuesday about one disappearing website containing investigative findings, Szydlo told press “the website has been closed and will simply remain closed.”



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Navigator of downed Russian jet found alive in Syria

Navigator of downed Russian jet found alive in Syria

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

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Russian officials said yesterday navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin, from the fighter jet shot down by a Turkish warplane on Tuesday, has been found alive. He was rescued following a twelve-hour mission to find him in Syria.

Vladimir Putin denies Russian jet was in Turkish airspace
Image: Kremlin.ru.

The pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, died after being shot by rebel fighters. During the rescue attempt for Captain Murakhtin, a helicopter landed in Syria after being shot at by rebel fighters. Russian marine Alexander Pozynich died during the attack. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Pozynich and Murakhtin will be rewarded the Order of Courage and Peshkov will receive the Hero of Russia award.

NATO supports Turkey’s claim that the Russian Su-24 bomber did go into Turkish airspace before it was downed. Turkish officials said they warned the Russian pilot to leave their airspace on ten occasions before their F-16 warplane shot at it near the Turkey-Syria border Both men on board the Russian plane ejected.

However, Russian authorities deny that the Russian plane did enter Turkish airspace. President Putin insists the jet was flying over Syria when the Turkish Air Force shot at it and called the event a “stab in the back”. During a television interview on Wednesday, Captain Murakhtin claimed there is “no way” the Russian bomber was flying over Turkey when the Turkish plane shot it down and that Turkey did not give a warning before shooting at the jet.

Despite President Putin’s warning of “serious consequences”, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “We do not intend to go to war with Turkey.” NATO has also encouraged both countries to soothe their relationship following the incident.



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