PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, February 6 (RIA Novosti) – The crash of an Antonov An-28 light passenger aircraft in Russia’s Kamchatka region which killed 10 people was caused by the pilots breaking flight safety rules, including being mildly under the influence of alcohol, investigators said on Wednesday.
The twin-turboprop An-28, en route from the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Palana, was carrying 12 passengers including two children and two crew, when it crashed on September 12. Four people including a child survived the crash and were hospitalized.
“The An-28 pilots violated the landing approach pattern and transmitted incorrect data to the air traffic control services on how the flight was being carried out, according to the conclusions of the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK). Ethyl alcohol was found in the crew's blood,” said Kamchatka Region Transport Investigation Department head Anton Artyomenko.
That caused them to fly the aircraft lower than it should have been while in cloud, resulting in it hitting the ground, MAK said.
The older of the two pilots had a blood alcohol content of 0.93 percent, consistent with having a hangover, while the younger pilot had just over 2 percent alcohol in his blood, "consistent with being a medium level of alcoholic intoxication," the MAK report said.
The probe revealed no technical faults that could have caused the crash, he said.
The MAK report said the crew's failure to react when the aircraft's radio-altimeter alert tone went off also a contributory factor in the incident.
MAK also said the accident might have been avoided if the aircraft had been fitted with a Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS).
The management of the local airline, Kamchatka Aviapredpriyatie, which operated the aircraft, has been fired on the orders of Russia's air safety watchdog Rosaviatsia, for violations revealed in safety checks.