Breaking: 71 perish in Russian air crash – witnesses describe possible mid-air collision


February 11 , 2018 – FRN – 

Vesti – translated by Inessa Sinchougova

On early Sunday, an An-148 of “Saratov Airlines” took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport bound for Southern Russia. Shortly after take off, the aircraft disappeared off radar and  crashed in a Moscow region, near the settlement of Stepanovskoe. On board were 65 passengers and 6 crew members, all of whom have perished.

Witnesses describe the plane burning before falling to the ground – some have stated it crashed into a helicopter, but airport officials have dismissed the theory. Weather conditions were also reported to be normal. All possible versions of the incident are being considered and subject to investigation. 

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has opened a criminal case based on article titled “violation of the rules for the operation of air transport, which resulted in the death of two or more persons.” 

Currently on site are 150 specialists of emergency services, investigators and criminologists. 

President Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the plane crash and instructed the government to create a special commission in connection with the tragedy.

The commander of the An-148, Valery Gubanov, was an experienced pilot with 5000 hours of general flight time and 2,800 hours of flying time on this particular type of aircraft, said the head of the press service of Saratov Airlines, Elena Voronova. 

As for the passengers of the airliner, according to preliminary data, they were all residents of the Orenburg region. According to the press-secretary of the region’s governor Sergei Shermetsinsky, there were no representatives of foreign states or other regions of Russia aboard the aircraft.

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