Russian plane crash kills at least 29 -agency


Posted at Apr 02 2012 12:23 PM | Updated as of Apr 02 2012 09:41 PM

MOSCOW (UPDATE) - At least 29 people were killed and 14 were rescued alive from a plane crash in Siberia, Russia's state-run Itar-Tass news agency said on Monday, citing a regional Emergency Situations Ministry official.

The ATR 72, a twin-engine, turbo-prop plane, with 43 people aboard, crashed some 30-35 km (18-22 miles) from the western Siberian city of Tyumen, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said.

The mid-range plane belonging to Russian airline UTair crashed after taking off from Tyumen on a flight to Surgut, an oil town further north in Siberia.

There were 39 passengers and four crew on board, according to preliminary information, Andrianova said.

Injured survivors were flown to hospital by helicopter after t he plane caught fire following the crash, the cause of which was not immediately known, Russian news agencies reported.

At least five survivors were in critical condition, state-run RIA news agency reported, citing hospital officials in Tyumen, some 1,720 km (1,070 miles) east of Moscow.

UTair has three ATR-72 craft made by the French-Italian manufacturer ATR, according to the airline's website.

ATR is an equal partnership between two major European aeronautics players, Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, and EADS.

The crash was the deadliest air disaster in Russia since a Yak-42 plane crashed into a riverbank near the city of Yaroslavl after takeoff on Sept. 7, 2011, killing 44 people and wiping out the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team.

President Dmitry Medvedev called for a reduction in the number of Russian airlines and improvements in crew training after that crash, which followed a June crash that killed 47 people including a navigator who had been drinking.