A plane crash which wiped out an entire ice hockey team has been blamed on pilot error. The Yak-42 jet came down near the city of Yaroslavl about 300 kilometres north east of Moscow on September 7. Forty-four passengers perished, 36 of whom were members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl club.
An official investigation into the crash reported one of the crew activated the brakes by accident during take-off, then tried to lift the jet too quickly. Yak-Servis who operated the plane came under criticism for failing to provide adequate training for the crew.
“The co-pilot had been suffering from delayed feet reflexes since 2000 and since 2005 his arm reflexes were not as good. Medics discovered traces of phenobarbital in the co-pilot’s body, its a substance which is banned during flying,” explained
Alexei Morozov, Head of the Technical Commission, Interstate Aviation Committee.
The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl side was multi national with stars from Canada, Czechoslovakia and Sweden. A crowd of 100,000 gathered at the team’s home stadium to pay their respects.
Following the crash, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for improvements in aviation safety. More than 120 people have been killed in civilian air crashes so far this year in Russia.