The three-engine Tu-154 belonging to Pulkovo Airlines was flying from the Russian resort of Anapa on the Black Sea to St.
Petersburg, Russia, over Ukrainian territory. The plane reportedly disappeared from radar screens two minutes after the
crew sent an SOS signal. It had come down far away from residential areas 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of the major city
of Donetsk (Ukraine). After it fell, it broke apart and burst into flames. All the 160 passengers and 10 crew members died
in the accident.
The decoding of the pilot’s communication with the air traffic controller has shown that the flight crew asked for permission to climb to FL390 — almost 11,900 meters high. The captain, obviously, decided to avoid a thunderstorm by flying over it.
The transcript of the data recorder gives a minutely picture of the plane’s flight. Things went wrong when the plane went higher than allowed by the air traffic controller – to 12,100 m instead of 11,900 m. The plane entered a deep stall. The crew could not recover and the plane entered a spin with a high angle of attack. The plane crashed and burned in a field.
Strong turbulences may have contributed to the accident. Moreover, it is also possible that a fire broke out onboard minutes before the crash.