LONDON – It has been unveiled by Russian media that the pilot in command onboard Aeroflot Flight 1492 is to be charged over the deaths of 41 people.
The pilot in question, Denis Yevdokimov is said to be fighting these charges, with his defence requesting extra examination of the landing gear’s design as well as the flammability of the materials inside the aircraft.
Aeroflot also released a statement regarding this, towing the line of compliance with regulators.
“The investigation continues. Charges have been brought against Denis Yevdokimov. Aeroflot provides all-round assistance to the investigators”.
The airline also added 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.”
Criminal charges were filed under Part 3 of Article 263 of the Russian Criminal Code which looks at the violation of air traffic and aircraft operation safety rules that caused negligent death of two or more persons.
If Yevdokimov is successfully charged, then he could face up to seven years in prison for the crash.
Flight 1492 took off from Shermeteyovo International Airport on May 5 last year, with towering thunderstorms observed around the airport.
The aircraft was struck by lightning at 8,900 feet after the crew’s failure to not request thunderstorm area avoidance clearance.
All communications with the aircraft, as a result, became inoperable and thus had to return to the airport without ATC guidance.
The captain flew the approach manually but was still 1.6 tonnes over the maximum landing weight of a SuperJet 100.
Moments before landing, wind shear alerts were given to the crew, but they did not act on such action.
The captain instead increased the required approach speed by 15 knots, with him also alternating sidestick inputs which caused the pitch to vary significantly.
Therefore the aircraft made ground contact with all three landing gears concurrently and then moments later another touchdown occurred, causing the landing gears to collapse, penetrating the wing and starting a fire due to the fuel sparking.
41 out of the 78 occupants died, with 10 injured out of the 37 survivors on board.
The aircraft, RA-89098, had only been delivered in September 2017, so it was a very young aircraft.
It will be interesting to see whether the court will find Yevdokimov guilty or not.
Bearing in mind some advisories were not followed, it may not play well in his favour, but again, it is purely speculative at this time. Only time will tell what the verdict will be.