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Sole person blamed for death of ice hockey team in 2011 plane crash amnestied

September 23, 2015, 12:35 UTC+3
The Yak-42 crashed on September 7, 2011 seconds after taking off from the runway at Yaroslavl airport killing 45 people: crew members and players, coaches and doctors of the Lokomotiv ice hockey club
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Former deputy CEO of the Yak-Service Airlines, Vadim Timofeyev

Former deputy CEO of the Yak-Service Airlines, Vadim Timofeyev

© TASS/Sergei Metelitsa

YAROSLAVL, September 23. /TASS/. A district court in Yaroslavl has sentenced the former deputy CEO of the Yak-Service Airlines, Vadim Timofeyev, to five years in prison in the 2011 Yak-42 jet crash case only to order his release under the 2015 V-Day amnesty, a TASS correspondent reports from the court room. Timofeyev, who was responsible for the company’s flight operations, was the sole person brought to justice for the air disaster that killed the Lokomotiv-Yaroslavl ice hockey team.

"I am addressing words of thanks to the victims’ relatives for compassion. Even though they are deeply aggrieved, their hearts have not become calloused," Timofeyev said after the sentence was read out.

The Yak-42 crashed on September 7, 2011 seconds after taking off from the runway at Tunoshna airport. It had 45 people on board: eight crew and 37 passengers - players, coaches and doctors of the Lokomotiv ice hockey club, who were on the way to a match in the Belarusian capital Minsk. Flight engineer Alexander Sizov was the sole survivor.

Interstate Aviation Committee experts have found the crash followed after one of the crew’s members unintentionally stepped on the brake pedal during takeoff, thereby preventing the plane from developing takeoff speed. After rolling more than 2.5 kilometers along the runway the plane took off to ram into a beacon tower mast and catch fire.

The accused blamed the crash on poorly placed cargo on board. In violation of the rules the team’s luggage had not been weighed before the departure. Timofeyev pled not guilty.

The trial in Yaroslavl began on December 3, 2014. The court has questioned more than 100 witnesses, victims’ relatives, experts and witnesses. The court studied 60 files. The judge started reading out the sentence on September 21, 2015. The final verdict took nearly 20 hours to pronounce.

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