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Pilot error behind last year’s helicopter crash-landing in West Siberia — investigators

August 25, 7:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Another factor that contributed to the accident was poor communication of the crew and an unjustified decision to take off

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MOSCOW, August 25. /TASS/. Last year’s crash-landing of a Mi-8T helicopter in northwest Siberia’s Yamal, which left 19 people dead, was caused by a pilot error, air investigators said late on Thursday.

"The pilot became disoriented while performing an emergency landing at nighttime, in solid cloud cover and with insufficient lights on the ground. The need for an emergency landing was caused by lack of fuel," said the press service of the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), an air investigation authority in Russia and CIS states.

Another factor that contributed to the accident was poor communication of the crew and an unjustified decision to take off despite the fact that the helicopter was to make a stop for refueling at an area where nighttime landing could not be performed safely due to weather conditions.

An investigation also revealed drawbacks in flight security procedures and choice of personnel carried out by the helicopter’s owner, Skol Airlines.

"Recommendations for increasing flight safety have been laid out following the investigation," the IAC press service said.

A Mi-8 helicopter carrying workers from the Suzunskoye oil and gas field to the city of Novy Urengoi, crash-landed about 80 km northwest from the city of Urengoi in northwest Siberia’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area late on October 21, 2016. The helicopter had 22 people on board, 19 of them died, including three crew members.

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