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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors Check Safety at Aeroflot

APPeople lighting candles at a memorial at the crash site near the Trans-Siberian Railway outside Perm on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that they were inspecting Aeroflot for possible safety violations after a Boeing 737 operated by one of its subsidiaries crashed in Perm, killing all 88 people on board.

Transport prosecutors have been ordered to examine whether Aeroflot and its subsidiaries adhered to safety standards, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

They will also inspect the Federal Air Transportation Agency and the Federal Transportation Inspection Service for possible safety violations, it said.

Aeroflot spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg said such inspections of airlines were conducted regularly but conceded that the latest check had been prompted by the crash.

Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin said in televised comments Tuesday evening that the investigation could take up to six months.

The plane, which originated in Moscow and was operated by Aeroflot subsidiary Aeroflot Nord, crashed minutes before landing in Perm on Sunday. Investigators have said an engine failure was the likely reason for the catastrophe.

Investigators have obtained footage of the crash captured by security cameras at a shopping center near the crash site, said Irina Sarkisyan, a spokeswoman for the investigative department with the Urals Transport Prosecutors' Office, which is handling the investigation.

They have also recovered radio transcripts of the pilots' conversation with air traffic controllers and fuel samples from the plane, Sarkisyan said.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid cited investigators as saying the pilots may have known about faulty equipment before taking off but were forced to fly anyway. A senior Perm investigator said the plane had undergone an extra maintenance inspection before the flight, possibly after the pilots expressed safety concerns, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Monday. The source told KP on condition of anonymity that protocol required that the pilots' complaints and the results of a technical inspection be recorded but that they may have been destroyed.

Dannenberg referred requests for comment on the report to Aeroflot Nord, where a spokesman declined to comment.

Sarkisyan said she could not confirm the report. She said investigators were looking into the possibility of pilot error.

Air traffic controller Irek Bikbov, who was helping the jet land before it crashed, said in televised comments Monday evening that the pilot ignored his instructions. "The crew heard my instructions but didn't follow them," Bikbov said on Channel One television.