Russian Yak Airliner Crashes: 43 Killed

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A Russian airliner has crashed, reportedly killing most of the passengers on board.

According to Russian news coverage, among the passengers were members of an ice hockey team, who were being transported to Belarus, in the Ukraine, for an upcoming match fixture.

The same sources have also indicated that the aircraft involved in the crash was a Yak 42, although specific information regarding the airline and precise location has not yet been provided. We do know, though, that the Yak came down near to an airport in Yaroslavl city, likely to have been Tunosha Airport.

Reportedly, the aircraft had just taken off when it began to lose height and ended up crashing approximately one kilometre from the airport boundary.
Russian Yak Crash

The Yak 42, of the type involved in the Russian Yak crash, is a mid-range turbofan-powered commercial airliner design first produced in the late 1970s and subsequently manufactured in several variants. Of the 178 ultimately built, close to 100 remain in use, the majority with Russian carriers.

This is Russia's first experience of an aviation incident in which an entire sports team has been lost, although there was a similar event back in the days of the Soviet Union.

The team involved was Yaroslavl Lokomotiv - three-times winners of the Russian ice hockey championships. Established in 1949, the team featured an international line-up of players, featuring representatives from Slovakia, Sweden and Germany.
Airliner Crash in Russia

Multiple investigations into the cause of the airliner crash in Russia are now already underway, one as demanded by Vladimir Putin - the country's Prime Minister. The Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, has offered his condolences and is set to visit the crash area in coming hours.

An earlier Yak 42 crash happened in May 2003, when the entire 75-strong passenger contingent was killed. Even though far fewer people were said to be onboard the Yak 42 involved in this crash, this particular aircraft type can accommodate well over 100 people. Just two months ago, another Russian airliner crash produced 44 fatalities.

Aware of the elderly status of much of the country's commercial aircraft fleet, Medvedev has previously pledged to replace its aviation relics with much more up to date designs.

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