October 13, 2011
A few bits of news today about the plane crash last month that killed all the members of the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team and sparked a world-wide outpouring of grief and charity.
• Alexander Sizov, the flight engineer (attendant) who survived the crash of the Yak-42 on Sept. 7, spoke with the media for the first time on Thursday. Incredibly, he wasn't wearing a safety belt when the plane failed to gain altitude, struck a tower and plummeted to the ground. From The Voice of Russia:
"After a short while, passengers started to worry why the plane was not lifting off, and I realized that plane was running on the ground. We lifted off from the ground. I felt that the plane would fall and we would all crash. When the plane hit on the ground everything smashed and I hit against something. The entire right-side was broken," Alexander Sizov says.
Experts say that the emergency brake theory could be one of the reasons that led to the crash. Commenting on this Alexander Sizov neither conformed nor dismissed this version. "If the pilot suddenly applied brakes, then we would have felt this. This is similar to a person inside a car. If the brakes are suddenly applied, a passenger continues to move forward through inertia. I did not feel this," Alexander Sizov said.
• The cause of the crash is slowly coming into focus, and all the evidence is pointing to pilot error. From the AP, test pilot Vasily Sevastyanov helped run a simulation of the crash:
Russian media reports said the investigators believe that one of the pilots accidentally activated the wheel brakes during takeoff, while another pilot pulled the plane up to a critical angle in a desperate attempt to get it into the air. The sharp maneuver caused the jet to crash immediately after takeoff.
Sevastyanov, who participated in the crash simulation at the Zhukovsky flight test center outside Moscow, said a "braking force" kept the plane down during its run, and an attempt to raise the plane's nose would lead to a crash.
• Finally, arenas around the NHL have been selling bracelets this month in support of Love For Lokomotiv, the organization that's raising funds to help the families, wives and children who lost loved ones in the crash. You can purchase "prayer bracelets" for $50 or "Remembrance bracelets" here.
All proceeds will go to the foundation set up in honor of the players who lost their lives. Check out Joe Starkey of the Tribune-Review for more about the charitable aspects of Thursday night's Penguins/Capitals game.