Beijing:  The pilot of a passenger plane, which crashed in northeast China four years ago resulting in the death of 44 passengers, was today sentenced to three years in prison for violating rules.

The flight from Harbin to Yichun in Heilongjiang province crashed while attempting to land at the airport on August 24, 2010.

Captain Qi Quanjun, on his maiden flight to Yichun, violated operational rules by attempting to land the plane when visibility at the airport was below safety standards, causing the deadly disaster, the Yichun district people’s court in the city of Yichun said in its verdict.

Qi also failed to properly evacuate the passengers and rescue the injured after the accident, as he left the plane without authorisation, it added.

The disaster killed 44 people, including the co-pilot, and injured 52 others.

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