Russia's Safety Board Not Investigating Crash That Killed Wagner Group's Prigozhin

Somehow, we are not surprised.

Russian independent aviation accident investigative body Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) recently announced that it is not currently investigating the August 23 Embraer Legacy 600 crash that killed Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and his associates. The IAC, which normally investigates all aircraft accidents in Russia following ICAO procedures, is also “not commenting on the circumstances of the incident.”

Instead, the main investigation federal authority, Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR), is probing the accident as a criminal case. This, however, deviates from precedent—the IAC has been involved in investigating two previous aircraft accidents that the ICR’s predecessor agency had also been looking into as criminal cases. It is unknown how thorough of an investigation ICR is capable of conducting, especially given Russian media video showing aircraft wreckage being dragged away by tractors the day after the accident.

After performing DNA examinations, the ICR released the identities of all 10 on board (three crewmembers and seven passengers) who were killed in the crash in Russia's Tver region. The agency confirmed that the passengers were members of the private military organization Wagner Group and included Prigozhin. It also said that the Legacy’s flight recorders have been recovered.

According to flight-tracking provider Flightradar24, the Legacy made a “dramatic” descent nine minutes after leveling off at 28,000 feet following departure from Moskva-Sheremetyevo Airport (UUEE) just after 6 p.m. local time.