While the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) is still in an active investigation of Aeroflot Flight 1492 crash on May 5, 2019, the first criminal charges have been pressed by the Investigative Committee of Russia.
The flight, which took off from Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) to Murmansk Airport (MMK), was hit by lightning shortly after the Superjet 100 lifted off the ground. Subsequently, the aircraft lost radio communication and the pilots attempted an emergency landing. Upon landing, the Superjet 100 hit the runway, which sparked a fire at the back of the aircraft. Out of the 78 people on board, 40 passengers and one crew member passed away.
Main Directorate on Major Crimes Investigation of the Investigative Committee has sued the Pilot in Command (PIC) of the Superjet 100, Denis Evdokimov. The Committee accused Evdokimov of violating traffic safety and operation of transport vehicle laws, outlined in the Criminal Code of Russia, Chapter 27, Part 3 of Article 263.
The accident still carries a lot of controversy. Aeroflot has released a statement denying the flight crews’ fault, but the initial report released on June 5, 2019, has provided recommendations to both the design of the aircraft and “Extended Envelope Training” for pilots.
Nevertheless, the Investigative Committee pressed charges against the captain of the Superjet for violating “traffic safety and operation of air transport”, which resulted in “the death of two or more persons” by negligence. If the court rules the Aeroflot captain at fault, Evdokimov potentially would be punished “by deprivation of liberty for a term of four to ten years”, according to the Criminal Code of Russia.
The captain, a former military pilot, has a total of 6,800 flight hours under his belt, including 1,570 hours as a pilot of the Superjet 100, with 1,428 hours as the captain of the Russian jet.