MOSCOW: Thirty-one people were killed on Monday when a Russian passenger plane crashed and burst into flames while trying to make an emergency landing shortly after take-off near the western Siberian city of Tyumen, officials said.
Thirty-one people were killed and 12 survivors, all of them in serious condition, have been taken to hospital, Russia’s emergencies ministry said in a statement.
The twin-engine French-Italian made ATR-72 turboprop aircraft had just left Tyumen on a flight north-east to the oil town of Surgut when it crashed. The aircraft burst into flames and broke into pieces upon impact. Officials said 39 passengers and four crew members were on board the plane. It remains unclear what caused the crash.
Earlier, local authorities said 32 people had died, but that figure was revised to 31. The twin-engine ATR-72 plane heading to Surgut crashed 30 kilometres from the city of Tyumen shortly after takeoff. Russian airline operator UTair said the plane went down as the pilots tried to carry out an emergency landing. Preliminary investigations cite possible causes of the crash
as technical difficulties and pilot error, media reports said.
The Itar Tass news agency reported that all the crew, which was made up of two pilots and two flight attendants, died.
All the bodies were recovered and the plane wreckage is being examined. The “black box” flight recorder had been found and a team of investigators has flown to the scene. A criminal probe has been launched into the incident. The President, Mr Dmitry Medvedev has put off a planned meeting with leaders of Russia’s unregistered political parties because of the crash, Russian media reported.