SAN FRANCISCO, February 10, (THEWILL) – A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people crashed outside Moscow on Sunday after taking off from the capital’s Domodedovo airport, Russian media reported.
The Antonov An-148 plane operated by the domestic Saratov Airlines was flying to Orsk, a city in the Urals, and crashed in the Ramensky district on the outskirts of Moscow.
Russian news agencies reported that 65 passengers and 6 crew were on board while AFP reports that witnesses in the village of Argunovo saw a burning plane falling from the sky.
A source from Russia’s emergency services told Interfax that the 71 people on board “had no chance” of survival.
The same news agency reported that the wreckage of the plane was spread over a wide area around the crash site.
Russian state television aired a video of the crash site, showing parts of the wreckage in the snow. Russia has seen record high snowfalls in recent days and visibility was reportedly poor.
The Russian-made plane was 7 years-old and bought by Saratov Airlines from another Russian airline a year ago.
Russian media reported that the emergency services were unable to reach the crash site by road and that rescue workers walked to the scene on foot. Emergency services said in a statement that over 150 rescue workers were deployed to the site.
A source at Domodedovo, Moscow’s second largest airport, told agencies that the plane disappeared from radars within two minutes of take off.
The transport ministry said several causes for the crash are being considered, including weather conditions and human error.
The governor of the Orenburg region, where the plane was flying to, told Russian media that “more than 60 people” onboard the plane were from the region.