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44 killed in Russian airplane crash

Posted by on June 21, 2011 0 Comment

A passenger jet crashed late Monday on a highway in northwestern Russia, killing 44 people, officials said. Eight people survived the crash.

The Tu-134 plane, belonging to the RusAir airline, crash-landed en route from Moscow to the city of Petrozavodsk, Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman Olga Semyonova told The Associated Press.

Her ministry said in a website statement that 44 people were killed. Eight people who survived the crash, including a 10-year-old boy, were hospitalized in critical condition in Petrozavodsk.

There was no immediate explanation for the crash, but the Interfax news agency quoted the airport director Alexei Kuzmitsky as saying there were “unfavourable weather conditions.”

Ms. Semyonova said the plane crashed on its final approach to the airport in Petrozavodsk, landing one to two kilometers short of the runway. It was unclear if the plane had attempted to land on the road, or just happened to fall there, she said. Petrozavodsk is in Karelia province, near the Finnish border, about 400 miles northwest of Moscow.

The plane was carrying 52 people, nine of whom were crew members, Ms. Semyonova said. Russian news agencies said Russian Premier League soccer referee Vladimir Pettay and a Swedish citizen were among the victims.

The Karelia branch of the Emergencies Ministry said radio contact with the pilot was lost at 11-40 p.m. local time. The black box flight data recorders have been recovered, the news agencies said.

The crash occurred on the eve of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s planned appearance on Tuesday at the Paris Air Show to support dozens of Russian firms seeking sales contracts.

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