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71 feared dead as jet crashes in Moscow

Moscow, Sunday

A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people crashed outside Moscow on Sunday after taking off from the capital’s Domodedovo airport, officials and local media said.

The Antonov An-148 plane operated by the domestic Saratov Airlines was flying to Orsk, a city in the Urals, and crashed in the Ramensky district on the outskirts of Moscow. Russian news agencies reported 65 passengers and six crew were on board and all were feared dead. News agencies said witnesses in the village of Argunovo saw a burning plane falling from the sky.

A source from Russia’s emergency services told Interfax that the 71 people on board “had no chance” of survival. President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the families of those on board.

“The president offers his profound condolences to those who lost their relatives in the crash,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. State television aired a video of the crash site, showing parts of the wreckage in the snow.

Russia has seen record high snowfalls in recent days and visibility was reportedly poor. The Russian-made plane was seven years old and bought by Saratov Airlines from another Russian airline a year ago.

Russian media reported that the emergency services were unable to reach the crash site by road and that rescue workers walked to the scene on foot. Emergency services said in a statement that more than 150 rescue workers were deployed to the site. -AFP

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