A Russian passenger plane operated by Saratov Airlines crashed near Moscow on Sunday, killing all 71 people on board, news agency Interfax said, citing a source in the emergency services. There were 65 passengers and 6 crew members on board the plane. Bodies of two victims have been recovered from the site so far, Reuters quoted Russian Emergency Situations Ministry. This was confirmed by the office of Russia’s transport prosecutor.
The AN-148 aircraft was bound for Russian city of Orsk, which is located some 1,500 kilometers (1,000 miles) southeast of Moscow. The plane had gone missing from radars a few minutes after taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport
President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to those who had lost relatives and ordered a special investigative commission to be set up. “According to preliminary information, nobody survived,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
The fragments of the crashed plane were found in the Ramenskoye area about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Domodedovo airport. A footage of the crash site, released by Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24, showed plane parts strewn across a snow-covered field.
— RT (@RT_com) February 11, 2018
The cause of the crash was not clear immediately. However, the Russian Transport Ministry was taking into consideration various possible reasons, including weather conditions and a pilot error.
See images from the site of the crash:
The passenger plane, ordered by Rossiya Airlines, had been flying since 2010, Reuters reported. However, it was put into storage during 2015-2017 due to shortage of parts. It resumed service for Saratov Airlines in February 2017. The jet developed by Ukraine’s Antonov company in the early 2000s was manufactured in both Ukraine and Russia.
With inputs from agencies