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Russian airliner in fatal crash near Yaroslavl

An airliner carrying members of a major league ice hockey team has crashed in Russia killing 43 people.

Witnesses saw the plane burst into flames shortly after taking off from an airport at the city of Yaroslavl, about 250km (160 miles) north-east of Moscow.

Investigators found wreckage of the plane in the Volga river.

Members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team were on board the plane, on their way to Belarus for the first match of the season.

Officials said two people were unaccounted for after the crash, the cause of which has not been confirmed.

Flames ‘nine storeys high’
The team, which had been due to play Dinamo Minsk on Thursday, includes players from Germany, Sweden, and Slovakia as well as Russia.

It was not clear how many of the fatalities were members of the team.

The reigning champions Ufa had already started their first game of the Kontinental Hockey League season, but abandoned the match when the seriousness of the crash became clear.

“In such a situation, after their friends and colleagues died, the players of both teams considered playing to be absolutely impossible,” KHL president Alexander Medvedev said.

The 10,000-strong crowd in Ufa’s stadium held a minute’s silence for the victims of the crash.

The plane, a Yak-42, had a capacity of more than 100 passengers, but it is thought only 45 people were on board.

A local policeman told the BBC Russian service he had seen the plane come down. He said the plane had barely taken off before it plunged to the ground, and he saw “flames as high as a nine-storey building”.

President Dmitry Medvedev was due to travel to Yaroslavl for a forum later in the week, and his spokeswoman says he will alter his schedule to visit the crash site. Mr Medvedev has promised to overhaul the industry and take out of service
ageing jets from the Soviet era.

The country has a poor aviation safety record. In July this year a passenger plane crashed in northern Russia and 44 people died.

Source: BBC News

Category: World News |

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Last updated March 24, 2017 at 2:14 PM
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