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Russian airliner crashes near Moscow, killing 71 people

  • There were 65 passengers and six crew members on board and there were no survivors from the crash, according to news agencyTASS.
  • It was reported to have been in the Ramenskoye district of the Moscow region.

A view shows a scene where a short-haul regional Antonov AN-148 crashed after taking off from Moscow
Reuters
A view shows a scene where a short-haul regional Antonov AN-148 crashed after taking off from Moscow

A jet operated by Saratov Airlines crashed in the Moscow region on Sunday, killing all 71 people on board.

Russia's Interfax news outlet said the An-148 jet bound for Orsk in southern Russia, went off radar shortly after departing from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. The agency later said eyewitnesses saw a burning airplane fall to the ground in the Moscow region.

"Debris has been found, there are no survivors," news agency TASS quoted a source as saying. It was not immediately clear what caused the crash which was reported to have been in the Ramenskoye district of the Moscow region.

Russia's transport minister confirmed the fatalities, saying there are no survivors from the crash, The Associated Press reported. The pilots of the regional jet not report any problems before the crash, the AP said.

There were 65 passengers and six crew members on board flight 703 and there were no survivors from the crash, according to TASS, who cited a source from the emergency services.

Interfax added, citing the Russian Transport Ministry, that several theories for the crash were being considered, including weather conditions and a human factor.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences on the deaths of the people in the crash and has instructed the government to create a special commission to investigate the incident, TASS said, citing the presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Flight Radar 24, which tracks aircraft movements, said the aircraft descended from 6200 feet to 3200 feet before a satelite communications signal was lost some 20 kilometers southeast of Domodedevo. The Antonov An-148 was seven years old, it added.

Saratov Airlines, which mostly serves cities within Russia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Long safety streak broken

The Flight 703 crash breaks a long stretch of air travel safety. Last month, Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 said 2017 was the safest year on record, with no accident fatalities on commercial passenger jets in the year.

Should the death toll from the crash be confirmed, it would make it the deadliest passenger jet incident since a LaMia charter carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashed near Medellin, Colombia in November 2016.

In December 2016, a Russian military aircraft crashed into the Black Sea, shortly after takeoff from Sochi. The Syria-bound plane was carrying more than 90 people at the time, and carried an army band that was headed to the country to entertain troops.

—Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.