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Five years since entire team of Russian ice hockey club Lokomotiv killed in plane crash

September 07, 2:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Yak-42 passenger jet crashed on September 7, 2011, seconds after taking off from the runway at Tunoshna airport
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Hockey Brotherhood memorial in Yaroslavl in memory of perished HC Lokomotiv team

Hockey Brotherhood memorial in Yaroslavl in memory of perished HC Lokomotiv team

© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. Five years have passed since the tragic event in Russia’s central city of Yaroslavl, where a plane crashed soon after taking off killing the entire team of Kontinental Hockey League’s (KHL) club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, including the coaching staff and doctors.

The Yak-42 passenger jet crashed on September 7, 2011, seconds after taking off from the runway at Tunoshna airport. It carried a total of 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 Belarussian capital of Minsk.

Everyone on board of the plane was killed except for flight engineer Aleksandr Sizov. He was the sole survivor.

Interstate Aviation Committee experts established during its investigation that the crash followed after one of the crew’s members unintentionally stepped on the brake pedal during takeoff, thereby preventing the plane from gaining the required takeoff speed.

After rolling more than 2.5 kilometers along the runway the plane took off to ram into a beacon tower mast and caught fire.

In September of 2015, a district court in Yaroslavl sentenced the deputy CEO of the Yak-Service Airlines, Vadim Timofeyev, to five years in prison over the plane crash, but he was immediately released under the 2015 Victory Day amnesty.

During the investigation, Timofeyev blamed the crash on poorly stored cargo on board of the aircraft. 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 questioned more than 100 witnesses, victims’ relatives, experts and witnesses and studied some 60 case files. It eventually took the judge nearly 20 hours to read out the final verdict.

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