The Yak-42 aircraft crashed on the bank of the Volga near the city of Yaroslavl on September 7 [Reuters]

A Russian plane crash that killed 44 people, including an entire hockey team, was caused by pilot error and inadequate training, investigators say.
The Yak-42 plane which was carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team came down on September 7 near the city of Yaroslavl in western Russia.

The investigators say the pilot activated the brakes by accident during take-off and then tried to lift the jet too quickly.

The aircraft crashed into a riverbank just after take-off as it set out to carry the team to a match in Belarus. All but one of the 45 people on board died.

The investigation raised fresh concerns about Russian aviation safety and prompted Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, to call for a cut in the number of small regional Russian carriers.

Alexei Morozov, who headed the investigation, said Yas-Servis, which operated the plane, had ignored safety rules and had failed to provide adequate crew training.

He said the flight training undergone by the two pilots was "insufficient to acquire the level of skills necessary to pilot and manoeuvre this type of Yak-24 aircraft".

An autopsy revealed the co-pilot was under the influence of a type of sedatives banned on the job but which is widely prescribed to treat anxiety and seizures.

The only player from the 37-member ice hockey squad to survive the air crash died of burns last month, leaving a flight engineer as the sole survivor.

In 2011 more than 120 people have been killed in civilian air crashes in Russia.

Source: Agencies