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Officials Charged in Petrozavodsk Plane Crash

Wreckage from the 2011 plane crash at Petrozavodsk's airport.

Three aviation officials were charged Wednesday in connection with a RusAir plane crash in bad weather last year in Petrozavodsk that killed 47 people and injured five others, the Investigative Committee said.

Two airport employees, Vladimir Shkarupa and Vladimir Pronin, are accused of failing to provide proper weather information to the crew of the doomed Tu-134, which crashed short of the runway in foggy weather in June 2011 as it approached from Moscow.

An official with the Federal Air Transportation Agency, Eduard Voitovsky, was also charged with negligence for failing to carry out the necessary inspections of meteorological equipment at the airport, according to an Investigative Committee statement.

All three face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

"Besides the violations made by the crew members while landing, it was determined that ... the officials at the Petrozavodsk airport broke the rules for providing weather data to the aircraft, while certification of the airport's meteorological station was not done within the requirements," the committee said.

According to the investigation, the airport's reorganization in 2009 required officials to re-certify the airport's meteorological equipment, but it was never done.

Under the law, Voitovsky, who headed the agency's department for flight support and air communication, was supposed to organize an inspection at the airport and issue legal documentation. Instead, he postponed the inspection from October 2009 until August 2011.

"As a result, meteorological support was being provided at the airport using banned devices and incomplete equipment for visibility control during landings and takeoffs," the statement said, without specifying how this affected the flight.

Late last year, the Interstate Aviation Committee said that the intoxication of the flight navigator, Aman Atayev, was a factor in the crash.

It also said the crew's decision not to use certain navigational instruments was a factor in the pilot's decision to land and that the co-pilot was absent from the cockpit during the landing.

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