Russian airliner crashes moments after takeoff outside Moscow, killing 71

World Today

RUSSIA-PLANE-CRASHA picture shows a piece of debris at the site of plane crash in Ramensky district, on the outskirts of Moscow, on February 11, 2018. A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people crashed near Moscow on February 11, 2018, minutes after taking off, killing everyone on board in one of the country’s worst ever aviation disasters. / AFP PHOTO / Vasily MAXIMOV

Russian authorities say there are no survivors among the 71 passengers and crew aboard a passenger jet that crashed just outside Moscow on Sunday. The plane was en route to the city of Orsk, 1,500 kilometers to the southeast. 

A period of mourning has been declared in the region, where most of the victims were from. 

CGTN’s Dan Ashby reports from Moscow.
Follow Dan Ashby on Twitter @DanielAshby

Minutes after taking off, the Saratov passenger aircraft disappeared from radar, plummeting to the ground about 80 kilometers from Moscow, and scattering debris over a one kilometer area.

Investigators with the Russian Investigative Committee are using quadrocopters to get an aerial view of the wreckage, while emergency crews work on the ground.

Few details have been released on a possible cause, though officials are beginning with weather conditions and human error. Russia has seen record levels of snowfall this winter.

The crash casts a shadow over travelers, many of whom are preparing to depart for their holidays. A roll call of the dead was posted online, naming every victim.

Russian President Putin sent his condolences, and immediately set up a special commission to investigate what happened.

In the meantime, however, flights are continuing with thousands taking to the skies.

It is a national tragedy, in a year when Russia’s planes will be relied on more than ever before. The country is hosting the 2018 World Cup, and fans, players and officials will be flying between multiple venues.

Michael Planey discusses Russian airline safety