Pilot Killed In Russian Plane Crash Was On Final Flight


Both pilots killed in the Flydubai flight that crashed in Russia on March 19 were set to be fathers, and one was on his final flight before starting a new job.

Reports revealed that Captain Aristos Sokratous, whose wife is pregnant with their first child, was on his last flight with the airline before starting a new job and life with his family in his native Cyprus. Sokratous, 38, was scheduled to start with Ryanair on March 20, the Daily Mirror reported.

Soktratous' co-pilot, Alejandro Cruz, was expecting twins at the time of his death.

The crash killed 62 people, including four children, after it circled a southern Russia airport for more than two hours due to high ground-level winds and poor visibility.

Terrorism was ruled out as a cause, though the case is under investigation. Investigative committee spokeswoman Oksana Kovrizhnaya told Sputnik that the investigation "could be prolonged" past the two month time period required by Russian law.

"We don't yet know all the details of the accident but we are working closely with the authorities to establish the cause," Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said, according to CNN. "We are making every effort to care for those affected and will provide assistance to the loved ones of those on board," 

In a statement, Flydubai said that it was in the process of contacting the families of those killed in the crash.

"It is a process that will take a little time but as a mark of respect to the families of the bereaved, we want to make every effort to inform them directly prior to releasing the full passenger manifest," the statement read.

Mary Schiavo, CNN's aviation expert, said pilot disorientation was likely a large factor in what caused the plane to crash.

"The poor visibility is probably the biggest clue," Schiavo told the network. "But this runway was lighted, it had good lighting at one end and passable lighting at the other and it did have an instrument landing system."

"With the clue of bad weather and making at least three different circles trying to reorient to this runway, it does look like pilot disorientation."

Sources: CNN, Sputnik, Daily Mirror / Photo credit: Faisal Akram via  Wikimedia Commons

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