31 Die In Plane Crash


A Russian passenger plane carrying 43 people has crashed shortly after take-off in Siberia.

Thirty-one people were killed and 12 survivors have been taken to hospital, Russia’s emergencies ministry said. The BBC reports that ATR-72 turboprop aircraft had just left Tyumen on a flight north-east to the oil town of Surgut when it crashed.

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 has now been revised to 31.

All of the survivors are in intensive care and doctors are operating on eight of them, according to the state-run RIA news agency quoting hospital officials in Tyumen.

The Itar Tass news agency is reporting that all the crew, which was made up of two pilots and two flight attendants, died.

Flight 120 disappeared from radars at 05:35 local time (01:35 GMT), state-owned Russian news channel Rossiya 24 reported.

The carrier UTair is a domestic Russian airline. The company said on its website that the pilot had been trying to make an emergency landing when the plane came down.

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A search team found it had crashed and burst into flames in a snowy field about 35km (22 miles) from Tyumen.The ATR-72 turbo-prop aircraft was built by a French-Italian company.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the operations of UTair and Roshchino airport and the deputy transport minister has flown to the site.

A ministry official in Tyumen, Yuri Alekhin, said the flight data recorders – the black boxes – have been recovered.

The Russian emergencies ministry has published a complete list of the dead and injured, all of whom appear to be Russian, correspondents say.Russia’s Lenta.ru news website is reporting there were no children on board.

Air safety has been notoriously bad in Russia – but it had seemed to be improving, correspondents say.

Last year, at least 15 Russian planes crashed, killing 120 people and questions were raised about maintenance.

In September, 44 people, including the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team, were killed in a plane crash that investigators found was caused by pilot error.

And in 2010, the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and scores of other senior Polish figures died when the plane they were on crashed as it approached Smolensk airport, in western Russia, in thick fog.

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