Prosecutors Looking at Vnukovo Plant's Work

The Prosecutor General's Office on Thursday ordered city prosecutors to check whether the Vnukovo aircraft repair plant complied with air safety regulations when it serviced the Boeing 737 that crashed Sunday in Perm, killing all 88 people on board.

The jet, which was operated by Aeroflot subsidiary Aeroflot Nord, was given a clean bill of health by the plant's inspectors on Sept. 7, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement Thursday.

The government commission investigating the crash discovered that the Boeing departed Moscow on Sunday with a faulty automatic thrust system after airport technicians in Moscow decided it would be repaired upon returning to its base at Sheremetyevo-1 Airport, Kommersant reported Thursday.

The Federal Air Transportation Agency on Wednesday banned all civilian flights using aircraft with inoperative automatic thrust systems, which maintains a plane's speed within pre-programmed limits.

It remained unclear whether the glitch caused the Boeing 737 to crash as it prepared to land at Perm's Bolshoye Savino Airport.

The Investigative Committee has opened a separate probe into possible air safety violations resulting in the death of two or more people -- a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The committee has completed the initial phase of its investigation and is satisfied with the results, committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Thursday, Interfax reported.

Andrei Kovtun, head of the Perm regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry, told reporters Thursday that the plane's wreckage will be used to erect a monument to the crash victims. The largest fragment of the aircraft is 6 meters long, Kovtun said.

More than 2, 500 police and rescue workers have filled a total of 30 trucks with debris strewn across 8,000 square meters at the crash site, Kovtun said.