Russian plane crash kills 31, 12 survive
Moscow, April 2, 2012
A Russian passenger plane crashed and burst into flames after takeoff in an oil-producing region of Siberia on Monday, killing at least 31 of the 43 people on board, emergency officials said.
Thirteen survivors were pulled from the wreckage and rushed to hospital by helicopter but one later died. Television footage showed the plane, which had broken in two, lying in a snowy field. Only the tail and rear part of the fuselage were visible.
It was not immediately clear what caused the UTair airlines ATR 72 to crash with 39 passengers and four crew on board, the latest air disaster to blight Russia's safety record.
"There are no explanations yet," Yuri Alekhin, head of the regional branch of the Emergencies Ministry, told Russian television from the scene of the crash. He said the "black box" flight recorder had been found and added: "Contact was lost with the plane just over three minutes after take-off."
UTair said on its website that the twin-engine, turbo-prop plane had been trying to make an emergency landing when it came down 1.5 km (one mile) from the airport in the western Siberian city of Tyumen en route to Surgut, an oil town to the northeast.
At least five of the survivors were in critical condition, RIA news agency quoted hospital officials as saying in Tyumen, some 1,720 km (1,070 miles) east of Moscow.
UTair has three ATR-72 craft made by the French-Italian manufacturer ATR, according to the Russian airline's website www.utair.ru. - Reuters