Thirty-one people were killed on Monday when a passenger plane crashed
moments after takeoff in an oil-rich Siberian region in the latest
accident to hit Russia's crisis-prone aviation industry.
The emergencies ministry said the French-Italian made ATR-72 liner was carrying 39
passengers and four crew when it crashed 45 kilometres
(28 miles) from the western Siberian city of Tyumen on a flight to the
oil town of Surgut.
"Twelve people are in critical condition... Thirty-one have been
killed," the Tyumen emergencies ministry said in an updated statement
after initially putting the death toll at 32.
The ATR-72 twin-engine plane was operated by UTair -- a private
Russian airline that conducts most of its flights in the energy-rich
regions of Western Siberia and the Ural Mountains.
The airline said in a statement that the plane came down shortly
after takeoff "while conducting a forced landing 1.5 kilometres (about
one mile)" outside Roshchino airport.
An airport security officer told Interfax the plane had only managed
to climb to about 100 metres (yards) before it lost all communication
with air traffic controllers.
"The liner's technical problems probably emerged during takeoff and
the crew tried to perform an emergency landing," the news agency said,
quoting the airport official.
UTair itself gave no immediate reason for the crash.
The Investigative Committee said its members had visited the
airline's office to "obtain technical and pre-flight documentation."
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