A regional passenger plane carrying 71 people, which took off from Russia’s busiest airports crashed on Sunday outside Moscow, which resulted in the death of everyone aboard. Russian officials told the media.
Saratov Airlines Flight 703, which took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport for the city of Orsk on the Kazakhstan border, had 65 passengers and six crew members aboard, officials said.
It vanished from radar screens a few minutes after takeoff and went down in what resulted to be a fiery crash in the southeast of Moscow.
The cause of such a depressing crash was not immediately clear. Officials said that none of the passengers or crew members aboard the Antonov An-148 jet has survived, according to Russian news agencies.
Authorities spotted the crash in a field outside Moscow, the RIA Novosti news agency said.
“I walked out of my house and heard the plane hit the ground,” an unidentified witness said in an interview with REN TV. “There was a huge explosion.”
“We have all kinds of scenarios for what may have caused the crash”, Russian Transportation Ministry official Zhanna Terekhova told Rossiya-24 news channel. “This could have been caused by anything, including human error or weather conditions.”
Russia has been struggling with a poor airline safety record since long. From 2008 to 2017, 326 people have lost their lives in accidents on Russian-scheduled commercial flights, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization. While, on US flights, 61 people have died in the same period.
Saratov Airlines, a regional airline based in Saratov, said the plane that crashed took its first flight in 2010. The airline said that, in accordance with Russian law, relatives of the deceased can claim insurance payments of 2,025,000 rubles – about $35,000.
“This is a tragedy for all of Orenburg,” Gov. Yury Berg stated. “We will not leave anyone alone with the pain of losing loved ones.”
The majority of the people on the plane were from the eastern part of the Orenburg region, according to the regional governor’s office, the Interfax news agency said.