KYIV, Dec. 29 – A Ukrainian Airlines pilot died on Thursday 20 minutes prior to landing while piloting a TU-134 plane from Kyiv to Moscow, news wires reported.
According to the Russian newspaper Segodnya, the pilot, 57-year-old Vasyl Pasukh, could have died of a heart attack, based on doctors’ reports. But Ukrainian Airlines representatives said that "no pilot in the company can board a plane without passing a medical examination," the report said.
Ukraine’s air transport department under the state department said that Pastukh was examined on Dec. 4 by a medical commission, which considered him fit for flight.
But according to a pilot who wished to remain unnamed, if Pastukh was sick, he could have reported his condition prior to the flight. In reality, however, "Losing the job is a tragedy. Even retiring is considered a misfortune - you cannot survive as a result," the pilot told Segodnya. He added that this results in pilots bribing medical commission doctors to falsify medical exam results.