The Russian-made plane was reportedly seven years old and purchased by Saratov Airlines from another domestic airline.

Russian passenger plane with 71 on-board crashes near Moscow no survivors reportedTwitter Moments
news International Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 21:40

An Antonov An-148 plane, operated by Saratov Airlines, had just taken off from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, and was headed to Orsk — a city in the Urals near the border with Kazakhstan — with 71 people on board when it crashed on the outskirts of the Russian capital on Sunday, according to Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations.

"Fragments of the An-148 plane and several bodies have been found near the village of Stepanovskoye," the state-owned TASS news agency quoted the ministry spokesman as saying.

'Profound condolences'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his "profound condolences" to the families of the victims.

"The president has instructed the government to set up a special commission over the plane crash in the Moscow region," Peskov said. "Putin also instructed relevant agencies to organize the search operation."

'Signal was lost'

Witnesses in the village of Argunovo saw a burning plane falling from the sky, according to local media.

"Radio contact with the plane was lost several minutes after the takeoff and the plane went off of the radars," said Russia's air transport agency.

Unclear cause

The Russian-made plane was reportedly seven years old and purchased by Saratov Airlines from another domestic airline.

It is unclear why the aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. However, TASS reported that the causes may include "weather conditions, pilot's error or a technical malfunction."

Elena Voronova, a spokeswoman for Saratov Airlines, said there had been no concerns about the technical condition of the plane.

The last aviation tragedy to claim scores of Russian lives occurred in December 2016, when a military aircraft carrying 92 passengers crashed in the Black Sea.

(This article was first published on DW. You can read the original article here.) 

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