Poor Training Main Cause Of Aeroflot 737 Crash

February 10, 2009

The chief pilot of an Aeroflot airliner which crashed last year killing 88 people had alcohol in his blood but the primary cause of the crash was poor training, investigators said on Tuesday.

A Boeing 737-500 operated by Aeroflot-Nord crashed as it tried to land in the Ural mountains city of Perm early in the morning, killing everyone on board in Russia's worst air crash for two years.

An official commission which investigated the crash said the main cause was inadequate training which caused the crew to lose orientation, but it also identified the crew's preparation for the flight as a contributing factor.

"A forensic study... detected the presence of ethyl alcohol in the crew commander's body before his death," Alexei Morozov, head of the investigating commission, told a news conference.

"The crew commander's regime of work and rest in the period preceding this aviation accident was a factor behind his overall tiredness and ran counter to the established standards."

Morozov said the crew had lost its orientation flying at night through thick cloud, with the aircraft's autopilot and automated throttle control switched off. He said the crew had not been adequately trained to fly on that type of plane.

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