September 12, 2011 / 12:22 PM / in 6 years

Lokomotiv crash survivor dies of burns

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The sole member of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team to survive last week’s air crash in western Russia died of his injuries on Monday, the medical center that treated him said.

<p>Flowers placed by Elena, wife of Alexander Vyukhin, are pictured on Volga River near the site of a plane crash outside the Russian city of Yaroslavl September 8, 2011. REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky (RUSSIA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER</p>

Forward Alexander Galimov, along with a crew member, were found alive after the Yak-42 jet carrying the team to a match in Belarus came down on the banks of a river shortly after take-off last Wednesday, killing 43 people.

However, he received burns to 90 percent of his body and succumbed to his injuries on Monday.

“We did everything we could do to change the course of events and to save his life, but unfortunately what we were dealing with were deadly burns,” said Andrei Alexeyev, head of the burn center at Vishnevsky Surgery Institute.

Other victims included three Czech world champions, Jan Marek, Karel Rachunek and Josef Vasicek, Swedish goaltender Stefan Liv and Canadian coach Brad McCrimmon.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev vowed on Monday that the team would be rebuilt.

“We must think how we could help rebuild this hockey club,” Medvedev said at a meeting with top Russian sports officials.

“We must do it tactfully and effectively at the same time.”


Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Lokomotiv would not play in the elite Kontinental Hockey League this season.

Instead, a team, consisting of mostly young local players, would compete in Russia’s second division.

The crash was the latest in a string of transport disasters that has forced Medvedev to order overhauls of air and water transport.

Ahead of a parliamentary election in December and a presidential poll next year, in which he has hinted he may run for a second term, Medvedev has demanded a rapid reduction in the number of domestic airlines and said Russia may have to buy more foreign airplanes to improve safety.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who led tens of thousands of people to pay their last respects to the team last Saturday, said passenger safety should take precedence over any commercial interests.

“No matter how big or small the air company is, it must be safe,” Putin told officials of the aviation industry on Monday.

“If a company complies with all safety demands it should be allowed to stay in business, if it doesn‘t, we should close it.”

Additional reporting by Albina Kovalyova; Writing by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by Clare Fallon

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