Plane Crashes Near Moscow, Killing 71 People

Footage on state television showed plane fragments strewn across a snowy field with no buildings nearby.Footage on state television showed plane fragments strewn across a snowy field with no buildings nearby.

A Russian passenger plane believed to be carrying 71 people crashed on Sunday afternoon near Moscow, shortly after takeoff from one of the city’s airports. No survivors were immediately reported.

The An-148 regional jet disappeared from radar screens a few minutes after departing from Domodedovo Airport en route to the city of Orsk, some 1,500 kilometers (1,000 miles) southeast of Moscow. The plane reportedly belonged to Saratov Airlines, a Russian commercial carrier, AP reported.

The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency's (Rosaviatsia) spokesperson confirmed to Sputnik that 65 passengers and six crew members were on board of the crashed An-148 plane, adding that the communication with the crew was lost few minutes after the aircraft's take-off.

The Russian An-148 aircraft, which had crashed after taking off from the Moscow Domodedovo airport, was set to reach the city of Orsk in the southwest of Russia. 

Plane fragments were found in the Ramenskoye area about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the airport. Footage on state television showed them strewn across a snowy field with no buildings nearby. It was unclear if there were any casualties among people on the ground at the crash site.

Russian media reported that the emergency services were unable to reach the crash site by road and that rescue workers walked to the scene on foot. Emergency services said in a statement that more than 150 rescue workers were deployed to the site.      

Russia’s Investigative Committee said all possible crash causes were being looked into.

A source from Russia’s emergency services told Interfax that the 71 people on board “had no chance” of survival.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed “deep condolences to all people who lost their relatives in the plane crash,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that the president ordered the government to establish a special commission to investigate the crash.

Shabby equipment and poor supervision had plagued Russian civil aviation for years after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but its safety record has improved markedly in recent years.

The last large-scale crash in Russia occurred on Dec. 25, 2016, when a Tu-154 operated by the Russian Defense Ministry on its way to Syria crashed into the Black Sea minutes after takeoff from the southern Russian city of Sochi. All 92 people on board were killed.

In March 2016, a Boeing 737-800 flown by FlyDubai crashed while landing at Rostov-on-Don, killing all 62 people aboard.

An onboard bomb destroyed a Russian Metrojet airliner soon after taking off from Egypt’s Sharm al-Sheikh resort, killing 244 people in October 2015.



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