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Russian air pilot faces criminal charges in SSJ-100 crash case

The defendant maintains innocence

MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has brought criminal charges against air pilot Denis Yevdokimov, whose Sukhoi Superjet-100 liner crash-landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in May.

"The investigation continues. Charges have been brought against Denis Yevdokimov. Aeroflot provides all-round assistance to the investigators," the air carrier said. Aeroflot stated that "only following all-round and thorough examination of all evidence it will be possible to establish the real causes of the disaster and take the necessary measures in order to avoid such tragic situations in the future." Once again Aeroflot asked the media, the public and officials to refrain from spreading premature conclusions about the causes of the crash before the official investigation is over.

A source familiar with the case has said Yevdokimov’s defense has requested extra examination of the landing gear’s design and the flammability of materials of the plane’s interior. "Also, the plane’s electric control systems will be tested," he added.

Aeroflot’s Sukhoi Superjet liner (SSJ-100), which left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for Murmansk on May 5 had to return about 30 minutes later. It made a crash landing and caught fire. There were 73 passengers and five crew on board; 41 died and 10 others were injured.

A criminal case was opened over the air crash under Part 3 of Article 263 of the Criminal Code (violation of air traffic and aircraft operation safety rules that caused negligent death of two or more persons). Maximum punishment under this article is seven years in prison.