Pilots Jailed After Ukraine Airshow Disaster

LVIV, Ukraine -- A military court on Friday jailed for up to 14 years pilots and organisers connected with an airshow disaster in 2002 in which a fighter jet ploughed into a crowd in western Ukraine and killed 77 people.

The court found four defendants guilty of failing to fulfil orders, negligence and violating flight rules linked to the world's worst airshow disaster at an airfield outside Lviv on July 27, 2002.

The two pilots of a Sukhoi Su-27 craft, which clipped the ground and cartwheeled into the crowd, were sentenced to 14 and eight years. The crew had ejected shortly before the plane hit the ground.

The accident happened when the fighter failed to pull out of a difficult rolling dive manoeuvre causing the deaths which included more than two dozen children.

The deputy commander of the local air force division was jailed for six years and the deputy head of flight operations received five years. The crew's main flight trainer was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Source: Reuters