21 Jun 2011

Forty-four die in Russian air crash

8:35 pm on 21 June 2011

In Russia, 44 people died and eight were left seriously injured when a Russian passenger plane crash and burned while trying to land on a motorway

The Soviet-era Tupolov jet, on a flight from Moscow, tried to land just before midnight local time on a motorway two kilometres from Petrozavodsk airport in the Karelia region of northern Russia.

The BBC reports that the aircraft belonged to RusAir, a privately-owned, Moscow-based airline that specialises in charter flights in western Russia and eastern Europe.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, although the 24-hour news channel Vesti quoted aviation sources as saying that bad weather in the area at the time could have been a factor. Thick fog and heavy rain were reported at the time of the crash.

Human error was also not ruled out.