Former Russian general pleads guilty to crashing fighter jet

April 23, 2013 at 9:41 AM

PETRAZAVODSK, Russia, April 23 (UPI) -- A former Russian general pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing the crash of a fighter jet he was flying without proper training or authorization, officials say.

Investigators said Maj. Gen. Kanamat Botashev had attempted a complex tail-slide maneuver in a Sukhoi Su27UB aircraft last year.

The plane spun out of control and crashed in a forest in the Karelia region, RIA Novosti reported.

He and the co-pilot ejected safely, and no one on the ground was hurt.

Botashev was charged with abuse of authority and violating flight rules leading to serious consequences. Prosecutors want him to serve a five-year prison sentence and pay $3.2 million in damages.

Botashev said he was willing to compensate the government for damages to the jet, but said he thought the damage "ought to be accurately assessed by economists."

He asked the court not to give him prison time, noting he had resigned immediately after the crash. Botashev also asked the court to keep in mind his good service record and his financial status.

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