Navigator In Russian Plane Crash Reportedly Drunk

Reports are that the navigator of the Russian plane that crashed in June and killed 47 people was drunk, according to yahoo news.

The plane, a Tu-134, crashed into a highway a mere 5 minutes before it was supposed to land in the northwestern portion of Russia. Surprisingly 5 people survived.

Vladimir Mishkin, a spokesmen for Russia's Investigative Committee, said that the navigator was in fact intoxicated, but failed to mention whether the navigator was at the controls at the time of the crash.

Finally, the navigator's level of intoxication was also left unmentioned. However, experts speculate that the navigator, who was killed in the crash, had consumed approximately a glass of vodka shortly before boarding the plane that departed from Moscow on that fateful day.

Legal Implications For The Airline

Anytime an airplane crashes the airline faces significant liability. Here I am sure that there are several wrongful death claims that have been filed or are soon to be filed against the airline for their negligence in the plane crash that killed 57.

Furthermore, it is likely that the airline will do everything in its power to settle with the surviving family members of the deceased so that the airline can avoid the additional bad publicity that a trial would bring.

However, the payout will likely be much greater than it would have been had the navigator not been drunk.

In your average plane crash case negligence is generally not hard to prove. Generally someone did not perform as carefully as he or she should have and a defect in the engine etc. was left undetected as a result of an oversight. However, here the fact that the navigator was intoxicated implies that the rest of the crew may have known that he was intoxicated.

Although I am merely speculating as to what happened before the plane was boarded, if the navigator's crew and/or superiors knew that he was drinking it may seriously increase the airline's potential liability. I am unfamiliar with Russian law, but it likely that if the potential plaintiffs can prove that the airline acted recklessly or even in a manner that exceeds mere negligence they may be to have a case for punitive damages.

With this hanging over the airline's head they have even more of an incentive to settle and settle quick.

I have always heard that Russian's drink vodka like water. I guess this time a little pre-flight hydration was a bad choice.