Pilot gets 3 years for China crash that killed 44

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BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court on Friday sentenced an airplane captain to three years in prison after 44 people died when his plane crashed more than four years ago.

Captain Qi Quanjun violated regulations by trying to land his plane in low visibility, the Yichun district court said in a ruling posted online.

It said Qi was also found guilty of failing to properly evacuate passengers and for leaving the plane before carrying out his duties.

Qi's Henan Airlines Embraer E-190 descended in heavy fog and turbulence and then missed the runway in Yichun, a small city in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, on Aug. 24, 2010. Another 52 people were injured in the crash, which caused a fire that consumed almost the entire plane.

The crash was China's worst air disaster since a China Eastern airplane plunged into a lake in northern China in November 2004, killing all 53 on board and two on the ground.

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