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The World

January 19, 1988

A new investigation into the Soviet plane crash that killed the world's first spaceman, Yuri Gagarin, indicates that ground control was to blame for allowing other jets into his airspace, Pravda reported. Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth in an April 12, 1961, space flight, was killed March 27, 1968, when his MIG-15 crashed during a training exercise northeast of Moscow. Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, reported that two MIG-21s overtook Gagarin's plane and then another MIG-15 got in "dangerous proximity" to it, causing the cosmonaut's aircraft to spin out of control and crash. Kremlin silence over the crash had led to rumors that Gagarin might have been drunk at the controls.

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