The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash occurred at 16:05 MT on Wednesday, 7 September 2011, when a Yak-Service Yakovlev Yak-42, carrying the players andcoaching staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team, crashed near the Russian city of Yaroslavl. The aircraft ran off the runway before lifting off, failed to gain altitude, struck a tower mast, caught fire and crashed 2 km (1.2 mi) from Tunoshna Airport. Of the 45 on board, 43 died at the scene. One of the two rescued from the wreck, Alexander Galimov, died five days later in hospital, and only the flight engineer Alexander Sizov survived.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, a member of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Russia’s top ice hockey league, was on its way to Minsk, Belarus, to start the 2011–12 season. All players from the main roster and four from the youth team were on board the aircraft. Because of the tragedy, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl chose to cancel their participation in the 2011–12 KHL season. The club would instead participate in the 2011–12 season of the Russian Major League (VHL), the second-ranked ice hockey league in Russia after the KHL, starting in December 2011, and would be eligible for the MHL playoffs. The KHL temporarily suspended its season-opening game already in progress and postponed the start of the season for nearly a week.
Investigation of the crash focused on pilot error and technical failures. An investigative committee was set up which examined Yak-Service’s records, conditions at the airport, plane wreckage and flight recorder data. Simulations of the plane takeoff were held to compare with recovered flight recorder data. Testing determined that pilot error was the cause as a braking force was found to have been applied by the chief pilot during takeoff. The investigating committee released its report at a press conference on 2 November 2011. According to Alexei Morozov, chief of the investigative commission: “the immediate cause of the Yak-42 plane crash was the plane crew’s erroneous actions, namely the pilot stepping on the brake pedals before raising the nose wheel because of the wrong position of the feet on the brake platforms during takeoff.”
At the time of the crash, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was one of the top ice hockey teams in Russia, originally established in 1959. The team won the Russian Open Championship in 1997, 2002 and 2003, and were finalists in 2008 and 2009, making it to the third round of the playoffs in four straight seasons. Lokomotiv lost in the 2010 KHL Western Conference Finals 4–3 to HC MVD, and lost in the 2011 KHL Western Conference Finals 4–2 to Atlant. Several players were about to make their debut with the team, including former National Hockey League (NHL) players Ruslan Salei and Kārlis Skrastiņš. Also set to make their coaching debuts were former NHL players Igor Korolev and Brad McCrimmon.
Here are a list of players killed in the plane crash:
|Jan Marek||31||Czech Republic||C|
|Karel Rachůnek||32||Czech Republic||D|
|Josef Vašíček||30||Czech Republic||C|
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