Crash Probe Finds Alcohol in Pilot's Blood

Tests have found alcohol in the blood of the captain of the Aeroflot-Nord jet that crashed in September, killing all 88 people on board, Kommersant reported Monday.

Forensic experts discovered alcohol in the muscular tissue of the pilot, Rodion Medvedev, but failed to determine its quantity and therefore couldn't say whether it was to blame for Medvedev's "sickly" condition during the approach to land at Perm's airport on Sept. 14, the report said, citing crash investigators who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation results had not been officially announced.

Investigators said Medvedev, who was due to land the jet, passed the wheel to another crew member, saying, "You see yourself that I can't," the report said.

The Boeing 737 burst into a ball of fire at an altitude of about 1 kilometer, apparently after an engine caught fire, scattering debris across an area of 10 square kilometers. The plane was making a second attempt at landing in difficult weather conditions.

Pilot error previously was blamed for the crash.

An Investigative Committee spokeswoman declined to comment on Monday's report. Repeated calls to officials from the two agencies leading the crash investigation, the Interstate Aviation Committee and the Federal Air Transportation Agency, went unanswered.

Calls to Aeroflot-Nord's press office also went unanswered.

Aeroflot-Nord is a subsidiary of state-owned Aeroflot. After the crash, Aeroflot banned all of its subsidiaries from using the airline's name and logo in an attempt to protect its reputation.

The investigation into the crash was wrapped up last week, Interstate Aviation Committee head Tatyana Anodina said at a news conference last Wednesday.