At least 44 killed in Russian plane crash
At least 44 people were killed when a passenger plane broke up and caught fire on coming into land in heavy fog in north-western Russia, an Emergency Ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
The Tupolev-134 plane, carrying 52 people including nine crew, crashed near a road about 1km from the runway at the Besovets airport outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk about 11.40pm local time on Monday (3.40am HK time on Tuesday).
"The preliminary information is that 44 people were killed," spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said by telephone. "Eight people were injured and seven of them are in a very grave condition."
The www.lifenews.ru Internet news website, which posted a full list of the passengers, said a 10-year-old boy named Anton had survived the crash but gave no details about his condition.
"We took a child to the local hospital â" the child was in a very grave condition," a medical worker told a local television crew at the scene. She said a total of five people were taken to hospital.
A video made by a witness on her mobile phone, and filmed by the television crew, showed flames soaring from the wreckage into the night sky near where the plane crashed, in the region of Kareliya about 700km north-west of Moscow.
"Everything was on fire," a witness who declined to give his name told the television crew. A photographer at the scene saw charred wreckage from the plane and dozens of emergency workers and firemen.
The crash comes on the eve of the Paris Air Show which Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is due to attend.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has swapped his Tupolev for a French-made executive jet, in April criticised flaws in domestically-built planes and the nation's poor safety record.
One of the most high-profile Tupolev air disasters in recent times occurred in April last year when Polish President Lech Kaczynski's official Tupolev Tu-154 plane crashed near Smolensk airport in western Russia, killing 96 people including Kaczynski, his wife and a large number of senior officials.
The Tu-134 plane that crashed was operated by the private company RusAir and was travelling from Moscow's Domodedovo airport. RusAir, which specialises in charter flights, declined immediate comment.
Most of the passengers were Russian but a Swedish national was also on the aircraft, Interfax news agency said.
The Tuploev-134 is a Soviet aircraft whose maiden flight was in 1967. It was unclear when the plane which crashed was made.
The aircraft's black boxes have been recovered.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
scmp.com: At least 44 killed in Russian plane crash
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