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Last Updated: Friday, 24 June, 2005, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Ukraine air crash pilots jailed
Ukraine airshow crash
The crash left 77 dead and hundreds injured
A military court in Ukraine has jailed two pilots whose plane ploughed into the crowd at an airshow near Lviv in 2002, killing 77 people.

The jet's pilot, Volodymyr Toponar, and his co-pilot Yury Yegorov, who both ejected and survived, were sentenced to 14 years and eight years respectively.

Toponar was found guilty of negligence and violating flight rules.

Two of his senior military officials and a flight security official were also jailed.

Seventy-seven people - including 23 children - died and nearly 300 were wounded at the show in western Ukraine when the Su-27 jet cart-wheeled into the crowds in a ball of flame after a manoeuvre went wrong.

An inquiry into the accident found that the crash happened because the pilots had tried to pull off a risky manoeuvre at a low altitude. Officials in charge were blamed for failing to stop the flight in time and secure a sufficient security zone.

According to AP, Toponar said that he did not blame himself for the deaths. He claimed technical problems and a faulty flight plan were to blame.

As well as the jail term, he was ordered to pay 7.2m hryvnas ($1.4m; 768,000) and Yegorov must pay 2.46m hryvnas ($500,000; 274,000) towards the government compensation for victims.

Country profile: Ukraine
22 May 05 |  Country profiles

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