Russian plane crash kills all 71 people on board; investigation underway

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(Moscow) : CNN reports that crew of the Saratov Airlines flight that crashed near Moscow on Sunday didn’t report any problems before the plane crashed into snowy terrain, killing all 71 people on board, state-run media said. The Antonov An-148 aircraft was carrying 65 passengers and six crew members, the Russian news agency Interfax said. The passengers included three children, ages 5, 13 and 17, state news agency RIA reported.

The plane was headed to the Russian city of Orsk, near the border with Kazakhstan. But it disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, Russian state news agency Tass reported. The plane went down in Ramenskoye District, in the Moscow region, the Russian emergency ministry told CNN. According to the Sun (UK) , the Saratov Airlines jet is understood to have ‘broken apart in the sky’, scattering wreckage and dead bodies over the Russian countryside. Debris was found about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on Sunday.

The cause of the crash remains uncertain. The Investigative Committee of Russia said officials have launched a criminal investigation, as all possible causes are being explored. Sources say the crash may have been caused by the weather, human error, technical failure or terrorist related activity. Both flight recorders from the plane were in the hands of investigators Monday.