THE INVESTIGATION into the September plane crash near Yaroslavl Airport in Russia that killed 44 people, including Slovak ice hockey star Pavol Demitra, has ended. The investigators announced that the main causes of the tragedy, which devastated the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team, were multiple pilot errors, sedatives in the blood of one of the pilots, inadequate training and a crucial instrument mix-up, The Moscow Times reported on November 3.
The results were presented by lead crash investigator Alexei Morozov and others from Russia’s Interstate Aviation Commission, who described the aircraft’s final moments to journalists.
“At least one of the two pilots had his feet on the brakes as the chartered Yak-42 rolled down the runway,” the investigators said, as quoted by The Moscow Times. “As a result, the plane failed to gather sufficient speed, lurching off the ground only to crash back down on the banks of the Tunoshonka River half a kilometre away.”
According to the investigators, both pilots had significantly more experience with flying a different type of plane, the Yak-40, in which the pedal used for the brake in the Yak-42 acts as a footrest. The investigators concluded that as a result one of the pilots did not realise he was applying the brake. They also found that the plane’s operators underestimated the amount of retraining that the pilots should have received before they began flying the Yak-42 while at the same still flying the older model.
The investigation also found that a barbiturate, phenobarbital, was found in the co-pilot’s blood. It was unclear why he was taking the drug, which is typically used to treat seizures and whose sedative effect may have deadened his sensitivity and reaction time in the crucial seconds when the takeoff could have been aborted, The Moscow Times reported.
7. Nov 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff