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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Human error cause of midair jet crash - source

RIA Novosti

15:24 29/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Human error was to blame for a midair collision of two Russian Air Force jets during aerobatic maneuvers near Moscow on August 16 that left two dead, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

"The investigation that was carried out confirms that the cause of the air crash was the human factor," the high-placed source said.

The Russian Knights aerial display team was rehearsing for the MAKS 2009 air show outside Moscow when two Su-27 fighter planes collided in midair.

The group's commander, Col. Igor Tkachenko, was killed while two other pilots were injured, and five people suffered burns when one of the jets crashed to the ground. One of the civilians later died in hospital.

Another source in the Defense Ministry confirmed the information. "We ruled out the version of equipment failure and environmental factors, so the human factor remains," the source said, adding that he did not mean "air traffic controller or pilot," but "just the human factor."

Russia's Air Force told RIA Novosti that official results of the investigation will be made public no earlier than November.

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