The immediate cause of the An-26 disaster in Kharkiv region that took lives of dozens of air force cadets and crew in September this year was a combination of errors on the part of the flight captain amid the lack of proper reaction from flight control staff.

"In the course of a large-scale set of investigative efforts carried out within criminal proceedings, based on the results of a military examination, irrefutable evidence was obtained indicating systemic and systematic violations of flight preparation rules, flight rules, and aircraft operation rules," the State Bureau of Investigation's official, Serhiy Lichik, told a briefing on Friday, December 18, an UNIAN correspondent reports.

Read alsoAn-26 crash: Several commanders served with charge papersSo far, three officials have been charged in the case, while this only marks the first phase of the investigation, Lichik has noted.

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The degree of guilt and responsibility of each military official involved will be determined in the course of further investigation which could expose how negligence and deliberate violation of flight rules led to the deadly crash.

A number of violations were committed at several stages – from flight preparation, start of flight, and to midair crisis, the official noted.

According to the SBI, during the last takeoff, a failure was detected in the left engine.

“Accordingly, as regards this failure, the crew were supposed to proceed with takeoff, since the acceleration speed was fit for it, and the aircraft had already passed the runway point from which it would have been possible to make a safe landing. In fact, it stalled and fell uncontrollably after the engines' power was wrongly regulated. The crew couldn't lead the plane out of this state due to the ultra-low altitude," chief of an SBI investigative unit Vadym Pryimachok said.

The official added that flight control staff, who were aware that they had allowed a pilot with insufficient skills to fly the plane, were supposed to intervene and ensure a safe flight and safe landing.

Read alsoFather of cadet killed in An26 crash died in plane downing in Donbas warzone in 2014An-26 crash: Background

  • On September 26, an An-26 military plane crashed by the highway while approaching the Chuhuiv military airfield.
  • Kharkiv-based Air Force University's crew and cadets were on board – a total of 27 people. Twenty-five were killed at the crash site and one of the two survivors later died in hospital. Thus, only one person survived in the crash.
  • According to the SBU Security Service, the plane's captain reported left engine failure to the tower and requested an approach to land shortly before the crash.
  • Ukraine's Defense Minister Andriy Taran, citing aviation experts, said one of the sensors in the engine of the An-26 transport military aircraft failed, as a result of which the plane's wing caught on the ground as it was approaching the airfield near Chuhuiv before plunging and setting ablaze.
  • On October 28, a government commission named the causes behind the incident. The main ones are the lack of effective control over the organization and performance of flights by Kharkiv university officials and systemic violations of the flight rules.
  • The An-26 that crashed on September 25 was manufactured in 1977. It had been operated as a training aircraft for the Air Force.