Officials: Iced sensors likely cause of Russian plane crash

Feb. 13 (UPI) — Investigators said Tuesday faulty speed sensor data, due to human error, is the likely cause of the Russian plane crash outside Moscow that killed 71 people last weekend.

The Antonov An-148 departed Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport and was headed to Orsk 900 miles away when it crashed Sunday. All 65 passengers and six crew members aboard the plane died.

Authorities said flight recorder data revealed that faulty speed sensor readings were transmitted to the pilots before the crash — possibly due to the sensors being iced over.

Interstate Aviation Committee investigators have said the pilots failed to activate heating equipment for pressure measurement instruments.

The investigation found that heating for all three of the plane’s full pressure receivers — which are typically activated before takeoff — had been switched off during the flight.

“A preliminary analysis of the recorded information, as well as an analysis of similar cases that occurred in the past, suggest that the development of a special situation in the flight could be caused by incorrect data on the flight speed on the pilot’s indicators, which in turn was apparently due to icing of the [sensors] when the heating systems are off,” investigators said in a statement.

Saratov Airlines Flight 703 crashed within six minutes of taking off from the airport, according to the report.

Monday, officials began using DNA testing to identify remains.