Russian Hockey team crash, Pilot error

Wreckage from Russian plane crash / AFP/Alexander Yuriev

Investigators say 'pilot error' was the cause of the Russian plane crash that killed the entire 'Lokomotiv' professional hockey team and several crew members.

The Interstate Aviation Committee announced Wednesday that the Sept. 7 crash of the Yak-42 plane, near the city of Yaroslavl in central Russia, occurred because one of the pilots accidentally activated the brakes during takeoff and then lifted the jet too sharply causing it to go down. The plane crashed into the banks of the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.

44 people were killed including several former NHL players. The only player who survived the crash later died due to burns. A flight engineer is the sole survivor.

It was one of the worst aviation disasters ever in sports, shocking Russia and the world of hockey.

The crash hit close to home for many area hockey fans. Goalie Stefan Liv was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2000 and played a short time with the Toledo Storm, now the Walleye, during the 2006 and 2007 season.

A lso on the plane were former R ed W ingsRuslan Salei and Assistant Coach Brad McCrimmon who left the team this year after three seasons to take his first head coaching job in russia.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.