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Investigators hunt for clues over Russian passenger plane

AFP  |  Stepanovskoye 

Investigators will examine today numerous possible causes of one of Russia's worst ever accidents that saw a passenger plane carrying 71 people crash near minutes after take off, killing everyone on board.

said it would consider explanations including human error, technical failure and weather conditions, as the country has experienced record snowfall in recent weeks. But it did not mention the possibility of terrorism.

The plane went down in the Ramensky district on the outskirts of at 2:48 pm yesterday after taking off from in the capital.

"Sixty-five passengers and six crew members were on board, and all of them died," Russia's office of transport investigations said in a statement

Three children were among the fatalities on a list published by Russian authorities.

The flight was operated by the domestic Airlines and was headed for Orsk, a city in the Ural mountains.

More than 400 people and 70 vehicles had been deployed to the crash site, the country's emergency ministry said.

The site was enveloped in heavy snow, making it difficult to access, with emergency workers forced to park their vehicles and reach the wreckage by foot. Others used snowmobiles and drones to survey the scene.

Russian said "genetic expertise" would be needed to help identify the victims, adding that it could "take two or three months".

"I felt a shock wave," Maria, a resident of a village near the crash site, told AFP.

"The windows shook," she said

The transport investigations office said the plane disappeared from radar screens around four minutes after take-off.

A said the aircraft's black box had been retrieved.

The Russian-made plane was reportedly seven years old and bought by Airlines from another Russian a year ago.

was founded in the 1930s and flies to 35 Russian cities. Its hub is Central Airport in

The governor of the region, where the plane was heading, told Russian media that "more than 60 people" on board the plane were from the region.

Russian offered "his profound condolences to those who lost their relatives in the crash," his said.

Putin also cancelled plans to travel to Sochi to meet with Palestinian leader Instead, the meeting will take place in in the region showed footage of distressed relatives at airport, where the plane had been due to land.

Andrei Odintsov, the mayor of Orsk, told Russian state television that six psychologists and four ambulances with medics were working with the families in the small airport.

is the second biggest city in the region, near Russia's border with

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 12:00 IST