The Captain of an Aeroflot plane that crashed at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport in May 2019, killing 41 people onboard, including two children, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment in a Russian penal colony after he was found guilty of violating air safety rules.
Denis Evdokimov was also ordered to pay two victims 1.5 million rubles each (Approximately $17,700) and has been banned from piloting an aircraft for three years after his release from prison.
Evdokimov was the commander of a Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100-95, which was hit by lightning shortly after takeoff from Sheremetyevo Airport. The lightning strike caused a loss of radio communication and possible electrical problems and prompted the pilots to make an immediate return.
Upon landing, the aircraft bounced along the runway, causing the landing gear to collapse and the plane to burst into flames.
During the resulting evacuation, 40 passengers and one crew member were killed, some of whom were trapped at the back of the aircraft, which was engulfed in thick black smoke and flames.
“The court decided to find Evdokimov guilty under Part 3 of Art. 263 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (violation of traffic safety rules) and sentence him to six years with serving in a colony-settlement,” the judge in the case said according to Russian news agency Tass.
Prosecutors successfully argued that the cause of the accident wasn’t the lightning strike but rather the Captain’s failure to follow the correct procedures in landing the aircraft.
It was, the court concluded, the actions of the Commander that caused the plane bounce along the runway, causing the landing gear to fail and subsequent crash.
Evdokimov’s defence attorney says they intend to appeal the verdict, arguing that the sentencing was overly harsh.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.