Watch commander of fire and rescue station No 127 Aleksei Besedin was the first to arrive at the Antonov An-148 plane crash and organize SAR operations.
“Dispatchers got a report that a plane accident and we took off to check. We did not know at the time what exactly had happened. But when we arrived at the scene it became clear that the plane had crashed,” Mr. Besedin said.
He added that it was no easy to get to the crash scene. “The trouble is that it is a snow-covered field. There were no cleared roads to it. Heavy vehicles appeared some time later,” he explained.
Rescuers had to walk as fire engines would not be able to make their way there sticking in snowdrifts. “We had to walk some 600-700 meters on the field and in some places the snow was waist-high and it was impossible for the vehicles to get in. It was very windy and sleeting,” Mr. Besedin added.
Together with colleagues he rushed to search for survivors and organize rescue efforts. They found some small fragments of the plane at once scattered within a radius of 1 kilometer. “We found a crater 7 by 4 meters and 1.5 meters deep with debris, fragments of covering and dead bodies inside,” Mr. Besedin said.
He added that the police arrived some time later and cordoned off the crash site. “More responders started to arrive, 4 helicopters with Emergency Ministry’s workers aboard, task forces and medical personnel,” the watch commander said and added that the SAR operation was set up immediately despite bad weather and difficult terrain.
Mr. Besedin confessed that it was the first time he had had to work through such a horrible disaster. “I have never seen such an aftermath before, but still we kept looking for survivors, we wanted to save them and help them, we set up all necessary efforts at once,” he said.