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September 29, 2020

Technical malfunction – cause of Tuzla air crash that killed 12

The air crash that occurred in Tuzla, Constanta County, in July, killing 12 troops, was caused by a technical malfunction at the plane, High Court prosecutors announ­ced yesterday in a press release quoted by Mediafax. The document also says that military prosecutors decided not to press criminal charges in relation to the death of the 12 soldiers and the total destruction of the jet.

Seen as one of the worst air tragedies in Romania’s recent history, the crash of the Antonov AN-2 military plane on July 5 was caused by malfunctions that could not have been foreseen, prosecutors concluded. According to investigators, the plane fell from approximately 30 metres in the air. The pilot noticed that the plane was barely able to take off and tried to redress it, but because of the low altitude he did not have enough room. The plane fell on its belly and all fuel tanks, located under the wings, caught fire at impact.

On the plane there were 14 soldiers taking part in a skydiving training mission, each of them carrying equipment weighing about 15 kilos. They were employed both at the Naval and Air Forces. Eleven of them were killed immediately upon impact and the twelfth died later on after suffering severe injuries.

Those killed include Com­mander Nicolae Jianu, head of the Boboc Aviation School, who was 49 years old and was survived by his wife and two children. Lieutenant Lavinia Guita, 26, who was co-piloting the plane, was also killed. Her carbonised body was found 150 metres away from the crash, as she was thrown out of the plane upon impact, investigations revealed.

The two survivors of the crash are Captain Daniel Balsanu, who was flying the plane at the time of the crash, and military petty officer fourth class Marius Nazare.

The Antonov AN-2 plane manufactured in Poland had been used by the air forces since 1992. Its capacity was of 12-17 people, based on passengers’ weight.

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