Pilot Error Caused Crash that Killed Lokomotiv Hockey Team

Posted November 2nd, 2011 at 7:50 am (UTC-5)
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Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee has ruled that a plane crash that killed 44 people — including an entire professional ice hockey team — was caused by pilot error.

Investigators announced Wednesday that the September 7 crash of the Yak-42 plane occurred because one of the pilots accidentally hit the brakes during takeoff and then lifted the jet too sharply. The plane crashed into the banks of the Volga river near the city of Yaroslavl in central Russia. The team had been headed for Minsk, Belarus, to play its opening game of the Kontinental Hockey League season.

The crash was one of the worst-ever air disasters in sports. The victims included all 36 players, coaches and staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team. Only one person on the plane, a flight engineer, survived the crash.

A number of former National Hockey League players were on the Lokomotiv roster. The included 13-year NHL veteran Pavol Dmitra, who played with the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks along with four other teams and captained Slovakia's national squad. Also killed were Lokomotiv coach and NHL veteran Brad McCrimmon of Canada, and assistant coach Alexander Karpovtsev — one of the first Russians to have his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup when he played for the New York Rangers.