Saratov Airlines Plane Crashes Near Moscow, 71 Feared Dead

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Russian plane crashes shortly after takeoff in Moscow, killing all 71 on board

A Russian passenger plane with 71 people on board crashed shortly after taking off from Moscow airport on Sunday, media reports say.

The Antonov An-148 departed Domodedovo Airport en route to Orsk with 65 passengers and six crew members.

Helicopters were at the scene as well as rescuers on snowmobiles, Reuters reported, adding that an official of the Emergency Situations Ministry said two bodies and a flight recorder had been found.

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

Search teams are attempting to sift through the wreckage, according to an emergencies source, who added that numerous bodies were "mangled" and "not intact".

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Interfax news agency said one Swiss national had been among the passengers.

Russian media reports the crews could not get to the site by vehicle and had to go by foot.

The ministry said "rescue workers, ambulances and firefighters" headed to the site.

The Investigative Committee, which launched a criminal probe into the incident, has also sent forensic teams to the crash site.

Villagers from Argunovo, near the crash site, reported seeing the burning plane falling from the sky over Moscow region's Ramensky district.

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Russian Federation has suffered numerous plane crashes, with airlines often operating ageing aircraft in unsafe flying conditions.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, expressed his condolences to the families and friends of those who had died in the crash and tasked the government with setting up a special commission to investigate.

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Images from Orsk airport show distressed relatives after learning the plane had crashed.

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According to Tass, the aircraft was taken out of service between 2015 and 2017 because of a shortage of parts.

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