Passenger jet with 71 on board crashes in Russia

Updated 2018-02-12 08:48:02 Xinhua

Russian Emergencies Ministry employees work near the site of an air crash outside Moscow, Russia, on Feb. 11, 2018. (Xinhua/Sputnik)

A passenger plane with 71 people on board crashed shortly after leaving Moscow, with no hope of survival of the crew and passengers, a source in emergency services told the Interfax news agency on Sunday.

The Antonov-148 of Saratov Airlines with 65 passengers and a crew of six was en route from Domodedovo Airport in Moscow to Orsk of the Orenburg Region in western Russia.

Radio contact with the seven-year-old Russia-made plane was lost at 14:21 Moscow time (1121 GMT), several minutes after the takeoff.

"Tentatively, the plane has crashed near the village of Argunovo. The crew and passengers had no chance to survive," the source said.

Witnesses in the village of Argunovo told news media that they saw a burning plane falling from the sky, and the Interfax report said fragments of two dead bodies have been found.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered "his profound condolences to those who lost their relatives in the crash" and issued an order to set up a government commission to probe into the crash, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

The Russian Investigative Committee has opened an investigation into the crash and Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov has flown to the scene.

The Russian Transport Ministry told Interfax that several reasons of the crash are being considered, including weather conditions and human factors.

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