Sun, September 14, 2008
World > Europe

Passenger plane crashes in Russia's Urals, 88 killed

2008-09-14 01:19:35 GMT2008-09-14 09:19:35 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

A video grab shows the wreckage of a Russian airliner near the Siberian City of Perm September 14, 2008. The Boeing 737-500 airliner crashed near the Ural mountains on Sunday, killing all 88 people on board, officials said. The plane, operated by Russia's national airline Aeroflot and on an internal flight from Moscow, ploughed into wasteland while trying to land in the Siberian city of Perm. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

A video grab shows firefighters working near the wreckage of a Russian airliner near the Siberian city of Perm, September 14, 2008. The Boeing 737-500 airliner crashed near the Ural mountains on Sunday, killing all 88 people on board, officials said. The plane, operated by Russia's national airline Aeroflot and on an internal flight from Moscow, ploughed into wasteland while trying to land in the Siberian city of Perm.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)

A fuselage piece of a Boeing-737-500 with the company's name Aeroflot, partly seen, lies at the crash site on the outskirts of the city of Perm in central Russia, few hours after the crash, early Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008.

MOSCOW, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- A passenger plane with 88 people on board crashed in Russia's Ural region and all people aboard were believed to have been killed, Russian news agencies reported Sunday, quoting emergency authorities.

The Boeing-737 jet went down at about 3:00 a.m. (2300 GMT Saturday) Sunday in a patch of wasteland on the outskirts of the Russian city of Perm in the central Ural mountains, the Itar-Tass news agency said.

"The plane flew from Moscow to Perm at 01:10 Moscow time on Sunday (2110 GMT Saturday), and in two hours, as it was approaching to land, the communication with it was lost at an altitude of 1,800 meters," Itar-Tass quoted a spokeswoman of the country's emergency ministry.

The plane, operated by Russia's leading Aeroflot airlines, was believed to have caught fire and exploded before falling, said the spokeswoman Irina Andrianova.

"The airplane was found within the city's limits in a deserted area" and all passengers as well as crew members were killed, she said.

Media reports say there were 88 people on board the plane when the tragedy occurred, but vary in who are the victims.

Andrianova said a total of 82 passengers, including seven children, and six crew were on board, while Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said there were 82 passengers plus a baby and five crew on board.

The Emergency Ministry's local branch said there were 17 foreigners on board, including eight Azerbaijan nationals as well as citizens of Ukraine, Switzerland, Latvia, Germany, the United States and Turkey, but an Aeroflot statement said there were 21 foreign passengers.

The plane disappeared from radar screens between 03:10 and 03:15 Moscow time (2310-2315 GMT, Saturday), said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigations Committee under the Prosecutor General's Office.

According to Markin, the Trans-Siberian Railway was damaged because of the accident.

Several hundred of rescuers were working on the outskirts of Perm, about 1,200 km east of Moscow, and prosecutors have opened a criminal case over violation of flight safety rules.

The cause of the accident is not immediately known yet.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered Transport Minister Igor Levitin to set up a commission to investigate the cause of the plane crash, the Kremlin press service said.

The latest major plane crash of Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline company, occurred in 1994.

The latest crash of the Boeing-737 aircraft was near Bishkek, capital of Central Asia's Kyrgyzstan last month in which 64 people were killed.

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