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Russia: Pilots Caused Plane Crash, Investigators Say

Moscow, 10 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- An investigating committee says that a Russian Tu-154 airliner crashed last week in Irkutsk, Siberia, because of crew error. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said today that the pilots had turned the plane too sharply, causing the plane to go into a tailspin and crash.

Klebanov said the aircraft's mechanical functions had operated properly, as did ground services such as weather reporting and air traffic control.

The plane was on a domestic flight from Yekaterinburg to Vladivostok when it crashed as it approached Irkutsk for a refueling stop. The crash near the airport at Irkutsk killed all 136 passengers and nine crew.

The committee presented its findings to President Vladimir Putin yesterday.