«Lokomotiv»: 10 years after the tragedy

On the 7th of September 2011 a passenger jet Yak-42D (tail number RA‑42434), carrying out an international flight, crashed on take-off from Tunoshna airport. During the takeoff run along the runway, the aircraft overran it and took off from the ground. Not having enough time to gain sufficient altitude, it stroke the antenna system of radio beacon and crashed into the surface 600 metres from the runway. The flight lasted for several seconds.

There were 45 people on the board: 37 passengers-Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team and 8 flight crew members. The hockey team Lokomotiv was heading to Minsk for the start of the new Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with Dinamo hockey club. 43 people died straightaway. Only two survived-a hockey player Alexander Galimov and a flight engineer Alexander Sizov. Galimov, being in critical condition with burns, was transported to the Heat Injury Department of Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery in Moscow where he died September, 7 in 5 days after the plane crash.

On the 10th of  September at the ice sports palace UCC «Arena-2000 Lokomotiv» the farewell to the dead took place. 14 people were buried in Yaroslavl, the bodies of other victims were taken to other cities and countries. Among the dead there were citizens of Ukraine, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Sweden and Latvia. 

Because of death of the main team the hockey club Lokomotiv withdrew from KHL in season 2011/2012. It was decided to create a team based on their own youth team Loco and hockey players invited from other clubs  to play in the Higher Hockey League (VHL). They will return to the main league of the country a year later 2012/2013 season. Lokomotiv played its first match in the VHL on December, 12 2011 against Neftyanik Almetyevsk.

For every resident of Yaroslavl, for everyone who was familiar with the players or team staff, for many people who are keen on hockey, that was not just a tragedy. That was something personal. This occasion turned me against hockey. I coudn`t get for a very long time, how it was even possible to watch and support another team.

But time heals. Step by step, I started to collect grains of memory of those guys who died  in this terrible plane crash. Everything that is available to our eyes: photos, monuments and memorial plaques, newspaper clippings, poems, stories that are being told by fans…

What does it give?

Sorrow, sadness, regret for the unfulfilled? For sure. But also joy of the moments lived, vivid memories, a sense of pride in success. It`s all mixed in us and it`s up to us to choose what to take in and return back to the world, return to those who are with us now- from those who are not.