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Passenger plane crashes near Moscow after takeoff; 71 dead

By in Press Enterprise on February 11, 2018

By The Associated Press

MOSCOW — A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people crashed near Moscow shortly after taking off from one of the city’s airports Sunday. The country’s transportation minister said there were no survivors.

The Saratov Airlines regional jet disappeared from radar screens a few minutes after departing from Domodedovo Airport en route to Orsk, a city some 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow.

Fragments from the Antonov An-148 airliner were found in the Ramenskoye area, about 25 miles from the airport. Footage on state television showed them strewn across a snowy field with no buildings nearby. No on the ground casualties were reported.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said Sunday afternoon that “judging by everything, no one has survived this crash.” He did not give the number of people on board, but Russian news reports said the plane carried 65 passengers and six crew members.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said all possible causes were being explored.

Russian President Vladimir Putin put off a planned trip to Sochi in order to closely monitor the investigation. Putin was to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday in the Black Sea resort, where the president has an official residence.

Instead, Abbas will meet with Putin in Moscow in the latter part of Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies.

The An-148 was developed by Ukraine’s Antonov company in the early 2000s and manufactured in both Ukraine and Russia. Russian state news agency Tass said the plane that crashed had been flying since 2010, with a two-year break because of a shortage of parts.

The plane was ordered by Rossiya Airlines, a subsidiary of Aeroflot, but was put into storage during 2015-2017 because of the parts shortage. Tass reported that it re-entered service for Saratov Airlines in February 2017.

Shabby equipment and poor supervision had plagued Russian civil aviation for years after the 1991 collapse […]    

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