MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS/. Investigators have wrapped up an investigation into the criminal case regarding the Sheremetyevo Airport crash against the captain of Sukhoi Superjet-100, Denis Yevdokimov, who pled not guilty to violating security regulations. Attorney Pavel Gerasimov, who is representing six families, told TASS on Tuesday.
"A preliminary investigation into the case against Yevdokimov has been completed. The victims have started studying the case materials, which contains 20 volumes which were photographed in full, yesterday," the lawyer said.
Once the plaintiffs have familiarized themselves with the case, the defendant and his lawyers will study it. Then, the investigators will transfer the criminal case to the General Prosecutor’s Office, which will make a decision to either transfer the case to court for review on the merits, or return it to the investigative bodies to eliminate drawbacks.
The SSJ-100, operated by Aeroflot, was bound for Murmansk from Sheremetyevo Airport on May 5, when approximately 30 minutes after departure, it returned to the airport, made an emergency landing and burst into flames. There were 73 passengers and five crewmembers onboard the plane. Forty-one people were killed and 10 were injured.
After the crash, a criminal case was launched under Part 3 Section 263 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Violation of traffic security rules and rules for aircraft operation which led to the death of two or more people out of negligence"), which stipulates a maximum penalty of up to seven years’ imprisonment. The authorities are charging Denis Yevdokimov with improper operation of the plane’s control during landing. Travel restrictions have been imposed on him and he has pled not guilty.
Head of the Main Forensic Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee Zigmund Lozhis earlier said that most passengers on the SSJ-100 died not because of the crash impact itself but because they were poisoned by dangerous chemicals when the plastic cover of the plane started burning. The passengers did not have enough time to put on their oxygen masks, since everything occurred so quickly. Most people died in their seats since they did not have time to unfasten themselves and react to what was happening.