Plane Crash in Northwest Russia Kills 44
The accident happened just before midnight local time when the Tupolev Tu-134 plane was attempting to land at the airport serving Petrozavodsk, the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, which is one of Russia’s federal subjects.
According to eyewitnesses, the aircraft was descending rapidly and crashed onto a local road, about one kilometer (0.6 mile) from the airport. “Upon the impact, the plane broke apart,” said Irina Andrianova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations. A fire that broke out was quickly extinguished by first responders.
Authorities said a total of 52 people were on board the aircraft, including at least 43 passengers whose names were released by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. The partial passenger list provided only the first names of the victims and gave no information about their ages or nationalities.
As of early Tuesday morning, a total of 44 people were believed to have been killed while eight others survived the accident, all of whom are in a serious or critical condition. Among the survivors is a young child who was transported to a children’s hospital in a serious condition. A Swedish man is believed to be among the fatalities.
The plane was believed to be flying for Rusline which provides services throughout Russia and to several other European and Asian countries. The aircraft which crashed on Monday was flying a scheduled flight from Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport to Petrozavodsk Airport.
Russia has seen several major aviation accidents over the last few years. On March 22, 2010, eight people were injured when a large passenger plane crashed on approach to Domodedovo airport in Moscow after a flight from Egypt. Only crew members were on board the TU-204 Aviastar-TU jet.
Soon after, on April 10, 2010, Polish President Lech Kaczynski was among 96 people killed when a Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft crashed near the city of Smolensk in Russia. He was visiting Smolensk for the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war in the village of Katyn.
More recently, on December 4, 2010, three people were killed and around 40 others were injured when a Tupolev Tu-154 Dagestan Airlines passenger plane crash-landed at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport while making an emergency landing after it had lost all three engines during the flight. Authorities said 160 passengers, including several children, and eight crew members were on board.