Following today’s inquest Donna Bull’s son George, daughter Kate and step mother Jenny released this statement:
“Donna was a wonderful, caring and devoted mother and daughter. She was the sunshine to all who knew her and there isn’t a day that goes by that she is not missed. We miss her smile and arms around us.
“We remember the past with warmth and affection but it breaks our hearts that she is not here to share our future. To lose a loved one as part of an accident is a tragedy, but to lose them in an incident that was wholly avoidable is so much more painful to bear.
“How could the authorities let inadequately trained engineers pilot a plane carrying passengers? Our lives and those of many others have been shattered by this flagrant disregard for safety.
“While our anger at what happened will slowly subside we will always be left with a sadness in our hearts. We just hope that lessons are learned so that more lives are not needlessly lost.”
Kieran Mitchell, from Slater and Gordon, who represents the family said: “It is quite extraordinary that an airline could have such a disgraceful disregard for human life.
“Lack of training, forged pilot licences, exhausted staff and air traffic control staff who did not know what they were doing all came together on the day of the crash to result in the loss of 50 innocent lives.
“It beggars belief how the local regulatory authorities in the Republic of Tatarstan, or indeed those of the Russian Federation, permitted commercial flight activities to be undertaken in such circumstances. It was surely only a matter of time before a tragedy, such as this befell them, leading to the loss of a much loved mother.
“It is of scant solace that Tatarstan Airlines operating license was revoked. I hope now other airlines will take heed of what happened on that awful day and ensure this never happens again.”