London, Jan 8 (ANI): The death of Yuri Gagarin, world's first man in the space, was an outcome of the panicked reaction after learning that an air vent in his cockpit was open, reveals a new report.
Igor Kuznetsov, a retired Soviet air force colonel, who was investigating the 1968 crash, said Gagarin threw his MiG-15 fighter jet into such a steep dive that he blacked out and crashed into a forest below killing himself and his co-pilot.
He believes that his report would spell the end of years of conspiracy theories claiming he was drunk, or the accident was staged by jealous Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
Gagarin died on a routine flight seven years after he shot to global fame by orbiting the Earth for 68 minutes.
After analysing hundreds of documents relating to the incident, Kuznetsov concluded that an air vent in the cockpit was left partially open.
He said Gagarin and his co-pilot realised the cockpit was not hermetically sealed as they were approaching 10,000ft and took emergency action to descend to a safer altitude.
Both of them dived far too quickly and lost consciousness as a result - the plane then crashed into a forest killing Gagarin and his trainer, Vladimir Seryogin, instantly.
He also said that the operating instructions for the MiG-15 were also flawed and did not specify how the pilots were supposed to use the fateful air vent.
Kuznetsov has also learnt that other pilots simulated a flight in the same plane prior to Gagarin's fatal flight, and believes they may have tampered with the air vent.
They wanted to determine their identity and what kind of training they were doing.
"Nobody knows what really happened except us," the Telegraph quoted Col Kuznetsov as saying.
"We need to tell our people and the international community the real reason why the world's first cosmonaut died.
"This part-open vent triggered the entire sequence of events that followed. These new facts need to be checked independently and by a government commission. Or even by foreign specialists," he added. (ANI)