Russian Officials Blame Crew In Fatal Crash

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Just three days after 50 people died in the crash of a Boeing 737 in Russia, a government panel said the pilots climbed too steeply after their first missed landing attempt, then lowered the nose to try to gain speed, but they overcompensated and sent the airplane into a near-vertical dive. The Interstate Aviation Committee said there were no problems with the airplane or any of its systems, according to The Associated Press. The report was based on an analysis of the flight data recorder. The cockpit voice recorder's tape has not been found, the AP said, although the box itself was recovered.

An official from Tartarstan Airlines said in a news conference on Tuesday that the two pilots had undergone all the required instruction, and their total time was 1,900 and 2,500 hours. Neither of the pilots had any known prior experience with executing a second landing attempt in the 737, the official said. The airplane, which was 23 years old, had undergone regularly scheduled maintenance last week, just two days before the crash. The FDR showed the airplane's engines and other systems all were working fine up to the moment of impact, according to the AP. The report also said the climb and subsequent dive lasted about one minute, and the aircraft hit the ground at about 280 mph, according to the AP.