Russian plane crashes near Moscow, killing all 71 aboard

A Russian passenger jet crashed several minutes after takeoff from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on Sunday, killing all 71 people on board, Russia’s Air Transport Agency confirmed.

“Fragments of the An-148 and several bodies plane have been found near the village of Stepanovskoye,” the agency said in a statement released by the state-run TASS news agency. The cockpit voice recorder and parts of the fuselage also have been retrieved from the crash site, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry reported.

Saratov Airlines Flight 703, with 65 passengers and a crew of six, was bound for Orsk when it departed Moscow at 14:21 p.m. local time, the ministry said. Radio contact was lost several minutes after takeoff, and the plane disappeared from air traffic control radars.

Pieces of the plane were found in the Ramenskoye region less than 25 miles west of the airport, the ministry said. Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov flew to the site.




Fire and rescue divisions, ambulance brigades and other emergency services were immediately dispatched to the crash site, authorities said. Photos from the scene showed emergency vehicles parked in deep snow.

Families of the passengers and crew were gathering at the airport in Orsk, about 1,100 miles east of Moscow. The passengers all were from the Orsk region, Interfax reported.

President Vladimir Putin “expresses deep condolences to all people who lost their relatives,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin ordered establishment of a special commission to investigate the crash, and Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said a criminal investigation had been launched.

The An-148 was built by Voronezh Aircraft in 2010, the company said in a statement released through TASS. The company promised its own probe.

“We were grieved to learn about the crash,” the statement said.




Credits: USA Today

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