Photographer: Dmitry Serebryakov/AFP via Getty Images

Russian Aircraft With 71 People Aboard Crashes Near Moscow

Updated on
  • Putin orders creation of special commission to probe crash
  • Regional aircraft was starting flight from capital to Orsk

A Russian plane with 71 people on board crashed in the Moscow region Sunday and prosecutors said there were no survivors.

The Saratov Airlines An-148 took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport at 2:21 p.m. local time (6:21 a.m. EST) headed for Orsk and disappeared from radar 7 minutes later, Sergey Izvolsky, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Authority, said by phone. Debris were found spread across one kilometer, state TV Rossiya 24 reported. Five hours after the crash, two bodies had been recovered.

The plane carried 65 passengers and 6 crew members, Saratov said on its website, expressing condolences to their relatives. The Ukraine-designed regional plane was built in 2010, it said. Saratov Airlines has been controlled by entrepreneur Arkady Evstafiev since Aeroflot PJSC sold its stake in the carrier in 2011, according to Kommersant daily.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the creation of a special commission to investigate the crash and expressed “deep condolences” to relatives, according a statement from his office. Putin re-scheduled a planned trip to Sochi because of the crash, Interfax said, citing spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The national Investigative Committee said on its website that it had opened a criminal case over alleged breach of aviation safety. Investigators will examine all possible causes, including weather conditions, human factors and technical conditions of the plane, the committee said in the statement on its website.

Russians have been involved in at least three deadly plane crashes in the past three years. A military Tu-154 crashed in December 2016, killing 92, including musicians flying to a concert in Syria, and a jet operated by Middle Eastern budget carrier FlyDubai broke apart while trying to land in high winds in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don in March 2016, killing all 62 people on board. An EgyptAir Airbus SE plane with Russian tourists returning from Egypt to St. Petersburg was blown up over the Sinai in October 2015, killing 224.

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