Cambridgeshire

Donna Bull death: Crash plane pilot had 'fake licence'

Donna Bull Image copyright Business Link Kyiv
Image caption Teacher Donna Bull, who taught at Bellerbys College in Cambridge, was among 50 people who died in the Russian air crash

The pilot of an aircraft which killed 50 people when it crashed - including a Cambridge woman - had a fake licence, an inquest has heard.

All 44 passengers and six crew died when the Boeing 737 exploded on impact while trying to land at Kazan airport in Russia in November 2013.

Among those killed was 53-year-old Donna Bull who taught at Bellerbys College in Cambridge.

An inquest in Peterborough concluded she was unlawfully killed.

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The court heard Ms Bull died of "multi-system body trauma" after the aircraft hit the ground nose-first at 280mph (450 kph).

The inquest was told the plane's captain had been a navigator with the now defunct Tatarstan Airlines and then got a pilot's licence with "no record of him having done any pilot training."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Russian authorities said the plane plunged vertically into the runway

Coroner David Morris said: "Frankly, he shouldn't have been flying the plane. It's as simple as that.

"The circumstances here are so gross. He should never have been in the plane and you cannot get more gross than that.

"The pilot did not have a genuine licence, he was not properly trained, he had no experience in the particular manoeuvre.

"That, together with numerous systemic failures, led to her death."

Image copyright BBC/Vizmaps
Image caption The flight had departed from Moscow and crashed at Kazan, 720km (450 miles) away

Ms Bull had been travelling to Kazan for the start of a 10-day marketing trip.

The Russian city lies about 450 miles (720km) east of Moscow, from where the 23-year-old Tatarstan Airlines plane had taken off.

Image copyright Family
Image caption Donna Bull with children Kate and George

Kieran Mitchell, from Slater and Gordon, which represents the family, said: "It is quite extraordinary that an airline could have such a disgraceful disregard for human life."

A statement from Ms Bull's family said: "Donna was a wonderful, caring and devoted mother and daughter. She was the sunshine to all who knew her and there isn't a day that goes by that she is not missed. We miss her smile and arms around us."

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