A Russian passenger plane has crashed after leaving Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Sunday, February 11, 2018, with 71 people on board.
The Saratov Airlines jet vanished minutes after take-off and crashed near the village of Argunovo, about 80km south-east of Moscow.
All those on board are thought to have died, officials told Russian media.
The An-148 was en route to the city of Orsk in the Urals, near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan. It crashed early in the afternoon local time.
Flight-tracking site Flightradar24 tweets that the aircraft was descending at 1,000m (3,300ft) per minute (60km/h, 38mph) five minutes after taking off.
In 2015 it was banned from operating international flights when surprise inspectors found someone other than the flight crew was in the cockpit.
The airline appealed against the ban and changed its policy before resuming international charter flights in 2016.
It flies mainly between Russian cities but also has destinations in Armenia and Georgia.
A source told Russia’s Interfax news agency: “The airplane reportedly crashed outside Argunovo village in the Moscow region.
“The crew and passengers had no chance.”
The agency said: “The An-148 passenger plane of the Saratov Airlines [flight 730 from Moscow to Orsk] took off from the Domodedovo airport at 14.21pm Moscow time.
According to preliminary data, there were 65 passengers and six crew members aboard the plane. Radio contact with the plane was lost several minutes after the takeoff and the plane went out of the radars. In happened in Moscow region’s Ramensky district.”
The aircraft was heading for Orsk, a city close to the Russia-Kazakhstan border.