No survivors as Russian passenger plane crashes near Moscow

No survivors as Russian passenger plane crashes near Moscow
By Alasdair SandfordNatalie Huet, agencies
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Russian authorities say all 71 people on board a Saratov Airlines plane died when it crashed shortly after take-off from Moscow on its way to the Urals.


A Russian Saratov Airlines passenger plane has crashed after taking off from a Moscow airport, leaving no survivors among the 71 people on board.

The Antonov An-148 aircraft went missing from radars after taking off from Domodedovo airport, according to TASS. All those on the aircraft were killed, the office of Russia's transport prosecutor said.

The plane was bound for the Russian city of Orsk, in the Orenburg region that borders Kazakhstan.

It is said to have come down near the village of Argunovo, in the Ramenskoye District some 80 kilometres southeast of Moscow and 60 kilometres from Domodedovo.

Earlier, Interfax reported that a passenger plane had crashed and a source told the agency there was "no chance" of finding survivors.

RIA reported that there were 65 passengers and six crew members on board the Saratov Airlines plane. A rescue service source told the Russian news agency that the crashed plane was spotted from the air in the countryside in the Moscow region.

Russian state TV channel Rossiya-24 has shown footage of fragments of the plane in a snow-covered field.

The cause of the crash is not known. Russia's Investigative Committee has opened an investigation, RT reports, quoting Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) as saying that rescuers have arrived at the site and found two bodies.

The flight-tracking website Flightradar24 says Saratov Airlines flight #6W703 was using a seven-year-old Antonov An-148 aircraft.

Flightradar24 has also reported that it tracked the aircraft descending at 3.300 feet (1,000 metres) per minute some five minutes after take-off, before the signal was then lost.

The Moscow region has been hit by particularly heavy snowfalls in recent days, but it is not known whether this was a factor in the crash.

Saratov Airlines mainly operates domestic flights in Russia, with some services flying to Armenia and Georgia.

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