Russia Completes Criminal Investigation Into Aeroflot SJ100 Crash

Russia has completed its criminal investigation into last year’s Aeroflot SJ100 Crash. The accident, which happened last May, sadly claimed the lives of 41 people. The aircraft caught fire during an emergency landing in Moscow.

Aeroflot, SJ100 Crash, Criminal Investigation
Russia’s Investigative Committee today concluded a criminal investigation into last year’s Aeroflot SJ100 crash. Photo: Getty Images

The world was shocked last year when an SJ100 crash resulted in many lives lost. The aircraft was less than two years old when it was written off following the Moscow tragedy. However, just over a year since the tragedy unfurled, the Russian Investigative Committee today concluded its criminal investigation into the commander of the aircraft, Denis Evdokimov.

Criminal charges

In a Russian language press release, The Investigative Committee of Russia said that it had completed its investigation into the criminal aspect of the May 5th crash. Roughly translated, the committee said.

“[The Comittee] completed an investigation into the criminal case against the commander of the SSJ-95B aircraft, Denis Evdokimov. He is accused of committing a crime under Part 3 of Article 263 of the Criminal Code.”

It went on to add:

“After returning to the departure airport, [Evdokimov] made a rough landing on the runway at Sheremetyevo Airport. Further actions to control the aicraft, comitted in violation of the established rules, entailed the destruction and fire of the aircraft resulting in the death of 40 passengers and one crew member”

Aeroflot, SJ100 Crash, Criminal Investigation
The aircraft squawked 7700 just before its crash landing. Photo: Getty Images

What about the accident investigation?

Today’s announcement by the investigative committee appears to be focused solely on the criminal aspects of the crash. However, the committee said that its criminal conclusion was based on data from the flight data recorders of the crashed aircraft, which does not correlate with the pilot’s version of events.

Also studied were “fire-technical, flight, aviation technical and other forensic examinations.” All of this will likely also be of use to the accident investigation, which is still underway.

Aeroflot, SJ100 Crash, Criminal Investigation
Flightpath data from SU1492. The left shows the position where the aircraft started squawking 7600, the right 7700. Images: FlightRadar24

So what do we know?

So what do we know about the accident? For a more in-depth dive, you can read our summary 24 hours after the crash, or when the interim report was issued. However, we know that around six minutes after departure, the pilot began to squawk 7600. This is the code for a radio failure. He then began to return to the airport before turning away and lining up for the runway.

Around a minute before the fatal crash occurred, the Aeroflot aircraft began to squawk 7700, indicating a general emergency. The plane then attempted to land and ended up bouncing down the runway before coming to a flaming halt on the adjacent grass. Only 37 people made it off of the aircraft. Passengers were observed on film leaving the plane with luggage, likely hampering the evacuation.

Aeroflot is the leading customer of the SJ100 with a fleet of 54 active aircraft, according to Planespotters.

What do you make of the criminal investigation’s conclusion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.