All 71 people on crashed Russian plane killed


All 71 people travelling on a Russian plane which crashed near Moscow have been killed, according to Russian authorities.

The AN-148 aircraft had disappeared from radars within two minutes of taking off from Domodedovo Airport in Moscow.

Two bodies have been found at the site, according to an official at Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry.

An emergency services source told Tass news agency there are no survivors.

The Emergencies Ministry said it had sent crews to the crash site, in Stepanovskoye.

Russian media reports the crews could not get to the site by vehicle and had to go by foot.

Tass news agency added that Russian authorities have confirmed fragments of the plane have been found, around 25 miles (40km) from the airport in Moscow.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The president offers his profound condolences to those who lost their relatives in the crash.”

The domestic plane was being operated by Saratov airlines, and had 65 passengers on board – including three children – along with six crew members.

It was flying to Orsk, a city in the Urals. Officials said all of the passengers aboard are believed to have been residents of the Urals.

According to Flight Radar it took off at 11.22am (local time) and five minutes later it was tracked descending at 3,300 ft per minute before the signal was lost.

Witnesses in the village told local media they saw a burning plane falling from the sky.

A woman from a nearby village said: “I felt a shock wave… the windows shook.”

The Emergencies Ministry said more than 400 people and 70 vehicles had been deployed to the crash site.

The area, which is covered in snow, has been hard to access leaving some rescue workers to get to the wreckage by foot. Some used snowmobiles and drones to assess the area.

Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said it could take “two or three months” to identify all of the victims.

It is not immediately clear what caused the crash, with weather conditions and pilot error said to be among the possible reasons.

Images from Orsk airport show distressed relatives after learning the plane had crashed.

Andrei Odintsov, the mayor of Orsk, said six psychologists and four ambulances were working with relatives in the small airport.

The Russian-made AN-148 was seven-years-old and was bought by the airline one year ago.

According to Tass, the aircraft was taken out of service between 2015 and 2017 because of a shortage of parts.

The Emergencies Ministry has opened a telephone hotline after the crash.