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Russian Investigators Blame Pilot Error For February Plane Crash

Russian Emergency Situations Ministry employees collect debris at the crash site on February 11.

Russian investigators have blamed human error for a plane crash outside Moscow earlier this year that killed all 71 people on board.

Russia's Investigative Committee said on June 26 that the February tragedy was caused by the "erroneous actions of the crew" of the plane, which was operated by domestic carrier Saratov Airlines.

The An-148 went down 70 kilometers southeast of the Russian capital on February 11, shortly after taking off from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport.

All 65 passengers and six crew members died, and the airline suspended the use of that type of plane following the crash.

The investigation concluded that the An-148 crashed when the captain took the plane into a steep dive after getting flawed air-speed readings, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

It said the incorrect information resulted from the pilots' failure to turn on the heating unit for the plane's pressure-measurement equipment prior to takeoff.

The findings confirmed an initial version given two days after the crash by Russian experts, who said that preliminary tests and analyses indicated that the speed gauges could have been covered with ice and shown inaccurate data.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP