Yuri Gagarin death mystery solved after 40 years

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The mystery surrounding Yuri Gagarin's death in an aircraft crash more than forty years ago may finally have been solved by a report which quashes decades of conspiracy theories.

Independent Russian investigators say they have uncovered crucial new evidence which finally reveals how the world's first man in space died aged just 34.

The study claims Gagarin's death during a routine training flight in 1968 was caused by his panicked reaction after realising an air vent in his cockpit was open.

He 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.

Igor Kuznetsov, a retired Soviet air force colonel, believes his findings will end years of conspiracy theories ranging from claims Gagarin was drunk to allegations the accident was staged by jealous Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

He has spent the past nine years with a group of aviation specialists, piecing together the circumstances using modern accident investigation techniques.

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