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Officers Arrested After Ukraine Air Show Disaster - 2002-07-28

The head of the Ukrainian air force and three other high-ranking officers have been arrested following an air show crash Saturday that killed 83 people. Residents were mourning victims a day after the tragedy.

Ukrainians in Lviv, near the border with Poland, are flocking to churches Sunday to remember their dead. The country is observing two days of official mourning in the wake of what is believed to be the world's worst air show disaster.

Ukraine's national security chief, Yevgeny Marchuk, has been appointed by President Leonid Kuchma to head the investigation into the accident. Speaking on Russian television, Mr. Marchuk said the first priority would be to identify the dead.

The task is grim; the plane burst into flames as it crashed in a crowd of nearly 2,000 spectators.

The two pilots survived, but officials say many others could be fighting for their lives in the hospital.

Mr. Marchuk says investigators are pursuing several possible causes of the crash, including negligence by the Ukrainian air force command and technical malfunction. But he cautions that it will be at least a week before details of the accident are known.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled scheduled Navy Day festivities in neighboring Russia.