The last surviving ice hockey player from the deadly Yak-42 aircraft has died in the hospital on Monday.
Forward Aleksandr Galimov was one of only two survivors of the airplane crash, which claimed lives of all members of the major league hockey team Lokomotiv. His death takes the number of fatalities from the crash to 44.
Galimov underwent surgery for a trachea transplant the day before. After that he was under the close supervision of doctors, but they refused to make any forecasts. Aleksandr sustained burns to almost 90 per cent of his body, as well as to his respiratory system.
Aleksand began playing hockey at the age of 5. He was a 3-time national champion during his time with the junior Lokomotiv team, and a member of the Russian national team. His team and coaches expected him to be one of the stars of the Winter Olympic Games in 2014. He leaves behind a wife and a young daughter.
Meanwhile, doctors in a Moscow hospital continue struggle to save the life of flight crew member Aleksandr Sizov. He is now the only survivor of the catastrophe. Sizov is said to be in a serious but stable condition.
The Yakovlev Yak-42 aircraft crashed near the city of Yaroslavl, 270 kilometers north-east of Moscow, on September 7. There were 45 people on board. Russia’s hockey team Lokomotiv Yarolslavl was heading to Minsk, Belarus, on a chartered flight to play their season-opening game against local side Dinamo.
The tragedy has sent shockwaves across the world, with many rallying to offer support to the families of all the Lokomotiv played who perished in the crash. A Facebook group has already been created by some NHL players, gathering donations for the wives and children of all the team members.
The investigation into the cause of the crash is underway. Russia’s Investigative Committee considers technical problems and pilot error likely to be main causes of plane crash.