Russian passenger plane crashes near Moscow, 71 dead

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Moscow: After taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, a Russian domestic passenger plane crashed on the outskirts of the Russian capital on Sunday, reports Russian media on Sunday.

The domestic Saratov Airlines, which operates the Antonov An-148 plane was flying to Orsk, a city in the Urals, and crashed in the Ramensky district outside Moscow. Russian news agencies reported 65 passengers and 6 crew were on board.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said fragments of the aircraft had been found. News agencies said witnesses in the village of Argunovo saw a burning plane falling from the sky.

Flight tracking service Flightradar24 tweeted: “Saratov Airlines flight #6W703 was performed with a 7 years old Antonov An-148 aircraft with registration number RA-61704… Flight #6W703 took off from Moscow at 11:22 UTC time and 5 minutes later we tracked it descenting with 3300 feet per minute before the signal was lost..”

“The speed and altitude graph for flight #6W703 show a descent from 6200 feet to 3200 feet during the last minute before the ADS-B signal was lost about 20 km south-east of Domodedovo Airport,” it added.

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

The same news agency also reported that the remains of the plane were spread over a wide area around the crash site.

Although it was not clear what caused the crash, the Russian Transport Ministry considered various possible reasons, including weather conditions and a pilot error, Interfax said.

The Russian-made plane was seven-years-old and Saratov Airlines bought it from another Russian airline over a year ago.

A source at Domodedovo, Moscow’s second largest airport, said to agencies that the aircraft vanished from radars within two minutes of taking off.

Agencies reported that the Russian transport minister was on his way to the crash site and the transport ministry cited multiple causes for the crash, including weather conditions and human error.

The governor of the Orenburg region, where the plane was flying to, told Russian media that “more than 60 people” onboard the plane were from the region.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into Saratov Airlines following the crash.


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