A Russian airliner crashed minutes after takeoff from a Moscow airport on Sunday, killing all 65 passengers and six crew members on board, according to reports.
The plane was an An-148, a regional jet belonging to Saratov Airlines, that had taken off from Domodedovo Airport and was headed to Orsk about 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow, REN-TV reported.
The Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement to Interfax that all people on board the plane have died.
All people aboard An-148 plane that crashed in Moscow region die – transport prosecutor’s office
MOSCOW. Feb 11 (Interfax) – The Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that all people on board a Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148 passenger plane, which crashed in the Moscow region on Sunday, have died.
“The plane was carrying 65 passengers and six crewmembers. All of them died,” the agency’s press service said.
The passenger plane of “Saratov Airlines” crashed after its departure from Domodedovo to Orsk, a source in emergency services told Interfax.
“Presumably, the plane crashed near the village of Argunovo, and there were no chances to survive with the crew and passengers,” the source said.
Earlier, the source told Interfax that the An-148 disappeared from the radar screens after the departure from Moscow to Orsk. Communication with the crew could not be established. On board there were 71 people – 65 passengers and six crew members.
Eyewitnesses reported to the emergency services about the fall of the aircraft in the Ramenskoye district of the Moscow region.
JSC “Saratov Airlines” was established in May 1994, performs transportation within Russia and international charter flights. The airline’s fleet includes five An-148-100 aircraft, seven Yak-42 and two Embraer-190 aircraft.
Eyewitnesses saw the fall of a burning aircraft in the suburbs, a source in emergency services told Interfax.
Later it was confirmed that the plane crashed after in the village of Argunovo. “The chances of surviving the crew and passengers were not,” – said the source of the agency.
Fox News reports that authorities have found a black box belonging to the aircraft and have cordoned off the area of the crash site, regional head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Sergei Poletykin said in a conference call.
“One recorder was found at the crash site,” Poletykin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin postponed a planned trip to Sochi to closely monitor the investigation and offered his condolences to the families of those killed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement to Interfax that Putin “expresses deep condolences to all those who lost their relatives and friends in this disaster.”
“The president instructed the government to set up a special commission in connection with the plane crash in the Moscow region and instructed the relevant agencies to conduct the necessary search operations,” Peskov told Interfax.
Putin was to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday in the Black Sea resort where the president has an official residence. Instead, Abbas will meet with Putin in Moscow in the latter part of Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies.
Fragments of the jet were found in the Ramenskoye area about 25 miles from the airport, according to REN-TV. Footage on state television showed them strewn across a snowy field with no buildings nearby. It was unclear if there were any casualties among people on the ground at the crash site.
“The speed and altitude graph for flight
#6W703 show a descent from 6200 feet to 3200 feet during the last minute before the ADS-B signal was lost about 20 km south-east of Domodedovo Airport.”
Witnesses in the village told local media they saw a burning plane falling from the sky, according to Sky News.
A local resident told REN-TV she heard an explosion.
“I left the house, saw the plane, an explosion was heard and the sky turned red,” the unnamed woman told the television station.
It is not immediately clear what caused the crash, with weather conditions and pilot error said to be among the possible reasons. Russia’s Investigative Committee said all possible crash causes were being looked into.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved.