Two veteran Russian bush pilots were intoxicated when their aircraft crashed earlier this month in a Far Eastern forest, killing 10 of 14 people on board, a Russian news agency reported today, citing officials investigating the accident.
Pilots Vyacheslav Shpak and Vladimir Danchenko both had alcohol levels in their blood sufficient to render them unfit to fly when their Antonov-28 turboprop struck a forest and broke into pieces in Russia's remote Kamchatka peninsula in the September 12 accident, the news website L!fenews reported.
Investigators determined both pilots were under the influence of alcohol after completing blood tests of the pilots' remains, the report said.
The report said neither pilot underwent a blood alcohol check prior to flight, as is mandated by Russian aviation law, and that the nurse responsible for performing the check only took their pulses.
She reportedly justified not administering the blood alcohol test because, the report said: the two pilots "did not smell of alcohol and were freshly shaved and cleanly dressed."
Air transportation officials said immediately following the crash that the aircraft had received all required maintenance, and that Shpak and Danchenko completed all necessary pre-flight checks. They both died in the crash.
Investigators believed the pilots may have been sober when they boarded the aircraft, and only began drinking while in flight, the report said.