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Federal authority alleges illegal operation of crashed Yak-42

Russian investigators have charged a senior executive of carrier Yak-Service, alleging that the pilots had been illegally operating a Yakovlev Yak-42 which crashed on take-off last year.

The country's federal investigative committee has accused Yak-Service's deputy chief, Vadim Timofeyev, of air safety violations following the September 2011 accident which killed all but one of the 45 occupants during departure from Yaroslavl.

It says the crew had "no right" to be operating the aircraft. One of the pilots had been put in command on the basis of "falsified documents" while the other had not completed required training on the aircraft.

The investigative committee alleges that Timofeyev knew that the pilots were inadequately qualified to operate the aircraft but nevertheless allowed the flight - involving transport of the hockey team Lokomotiv - to take place.

Inquiries into the accident determined that inadvertent braking by the crew meant the aircraft failed to rotate and it overran before breaking up. The crew had previous experience on the Yak-40, which required different piloting techniques.

Forensic specialists also found that, while both crew members were rested and had no traces of alcohol, one of the pilots had the sedative phenobarbital in his system.

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