71 die as plane crashes near Moscow

Emergency services work at the scene where the plane crashed after take-off on Sunday [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters] (Photo Source: Al Jazeera)

A Russian passenger plane with 71 people on board crashed near Moscow soon after take-off on Sunday, Reuters reported.

All 71 people on board got killed in the crash, and investigators said they were looking at all possible causes.

President Vladimir Putin has already offered condolences to those who lost relatives and ordered a special investigative commission to be set up.

The office of Russia’s transport prosecutor said all 71 people on board had been killed. Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov confirmed there were no survivors and said DNA tests would be needed to identify the dead.

Television images of the crash site showed wreckage of the plane, including one of its engines lying in fields covered with thick snow.

Helicopters were at the scene as well as rescuers on snowmobiles, Reuters reported, adding that an official of the Emergency Situations Ministry said two bodies and a flight recorder had been found.

Investigators said debris and human remains were spread over a radius of a kilometre from the crash site, stressing that a criminal case had been opened into the incident.

Among possible causes listed were weather conditions, human error and the plane’s technical condition as no distress signals had been received from the crew.

Manufactured in 2010, the plane is said to have been carrying 65 passengers and six crew.

On Sunday, it disappeared from radar screens shortly after taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

But in her reaction, Elena Voronova, a spokeswoman for Saratov Airlines, said there had been no concerns about the technical condition of the plane, which went into service with her company in 2016.

Reuters reports that the city’s mayor told the Rossiya 24 TV channel that a team of psychologists was working at the airport to comfort people, seen in footage with hands placed on their heads.

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