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UTAir pilots sentenced over fatal Samara Tu-134 crash

Two Tupolev Tu-134 pilots have been handed suspended prison sentences for negligence following the fatal crash of their aircraft during an attempt to land at Samara three years ago.

UTAir flight 471 from Surgut struck the ground some 300m (1,000ft) short of runway 23 at Samara Kurumoch Airport, and broke up, killing six of those on board.

Russia's federal prosecuting office states today that a Samara regional court has sentenced the commander of the Tu-134 to six years' imprisonment, suspended, while the co-pilot has received a two-year suspended sentence.

"They were found guilty of violating the rules of safety and operation of air transport, negligently causing the deaths of two or more persons," it adds.

The office states that the crew delayed decision-making during the 17 March 2007 approach, which was conducted in heavy fog, and "did not leave time" for a go-around.

Russian investigators found that procedural problems meant information about deteriorating weather conditions was not passed quickly to the crew, or air traffic controllers.

Visibility had fallen far below the levels required for landing at Samara. But the inquiry also determined that the Tu-134 pilots had not aborted the landing at the decision height despite their not having firm visual contact with ground-based lighting and other markings.

Lead photo © Air Team Images
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