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BREAKING NEWS: PLANE CRASH - ALL PASSENGERS DEAD

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All 71 people aboard passenger plane killed after it crashed outside Moscow shortly after takeoff

A Russian airliner crashed minutes after takeoff from a Moscow airport on Sunday, killing all 65 passengers and six crew members on board, officials said.

The plane was an An-148, a regional jet belonging to Saratov Airlines, that had taken off from Domodedovo Airport and was headed to Orsk about 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow, REN-TV reported.

The Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Prosecutor's Office said in a statement to Interfax that all people on board the plane have died.

"The plane was carrying 65 passengers and six crewmembers. All of them died," the agency's press service said in a statement.

In this screen grab provided by the Life.ru, the wreckage of a AN-148 plane is seen in Stepanovskoye village, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Russia's Emergencies Ministry says a passenger plane has crashed near Moscow and fragments of it have been found. (Life.ru via AP)

In this screen grab provided by the Life.ru, the wreckage of a AN-148 plane is seen in Stepanovskoye village, about 25 miles from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.  (Life.ru via AP)

A source from Russia's emergency services told Interfax those on board "had no chance" of survival, and that the wreckage from the plane was spread over a wide area around the crash site.

Authorities have found a black box belonging to the aircraft and have cordoned off the area of the crash site, regional head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Sergei Poletykin said in a conference call. 

"One recorder was found at the crash site," Poletykin said.

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A map showing where a Russian jet carrying 71 people crashed Sunday afternoon outside Moscow.  (Fox News/Bing)

Russian President Vladimir Putin postponed a planned trip to Sochi to closely monitor the investigation and offered his condolences to the families of those killed.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement to Interfax that Putin "expresses deep condolences to all those who lost their relatives and friends in this disaster."

Russia Airport Reaction

A man reacts in an airport in Orsk, Russia after a plane with 71 people on board crashed shortly after takeoff from Moscow.  (REUTERS)

"The president instructed the government to set up a special commission in connection with the plane crash in the Moscow region and instructed the relevant agencies to conduct the necessary search operations," Peskov told Interfax.

Putin was to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday in the Black Sea resort where the president has an official residence. Instead, Abbas will meet with Putin in Moscow in the latter part of Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies.

Fragments of the jet were found in the Ramenskoye area about 25 miles from the airport, according to REN-TV. Footage on state television showed them strewn across a snowy field with no buildings nearby. It was unclear if there were any casualties among people on the ground at the crash site.

In this screen grab provided by the Life.ru, the wreckage of a AN-148 plane is seen in Stepanovskoye village, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Russia's Emergencies Ministry says a passenger plane has crashed near Moscow and fragments of it have been found. (Life.ru via AP)

In this screen grab provided by the Life.ru, the wreckage of a AN-148 plane is seen in Stepanovskoye village, about 25 miles from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.  (Life.ru via AP)

The flight took off from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport and spent about 5 minutes in the air before a signal was lost about 12 miles southeast of the airport, according to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking website.

According to @RT_com there were 71 passengers and crew on board flight #6W703

 

The speed and altitude graph for flight #6W703 show a descent from 6200 feet to 3200 feet during the last minute before the ADS-B signal was lost about 20 km south-east of Domodedovo Airport.https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/ra-61704#106596d0  pic.twitter.com/ppf5rD9k7E

View image on Twitter
 
 

Witnesses in the village told local media they saw a burning plane falling from the sky, according to Sky News.

A local resident told REN-TV she heard an explosion.

In this screen grab provided by the Life.ru, the wreckage of a AN-148 plane is seen in Stepanovskoye village, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Russia's Emergencies Ministry says a passenger plane has crashed near Moscow and fragments of it have been found. (Life.ru via AP)

In this screen grab provided by the Life.ru, the wreckage of a AN-148 plane is seen in Stepanovskoye village, about 25 miles from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.  (Life.ru via AP)

"I left the house, saw the plane, an explosion was heard and the sky turned red," the unnamed woman told the television station.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry said in a tweet the recovery process would involve 150 people and 20 vehicles, and that the crash scene was only accessible on foot due to weather conditions.

 

К ликвидации последствий крушения самолета Ан-148 привлечены силы и средства общей численностью более 150 человек и свыше 20 единиц техники.
Приведены в готовность силы центра «Лидер», отряда Центроспас и Ногинского спасательного центра, а также вертолет Ми-8 Жуковского АСЦ МЧС.

 
 

It is not immediately clear what caused the crash, with weather conditions and pilot error said to be among the possible reasons. Russia's Investigative Committee said all possible crash causes were being looked into.

Russia's state news agency Tass said the plane had been flying since 2010, with a two-year break because of a shortage of parts.

The plane, an Antonov An-148 jet, was ordered by Rossiya Airlines, a subsidiary of Aeroflot, but was put into storage during 2015-2017 because of a lack of parts. Tass reports it re-entered service for Saratov Airlines in February 2017. The jet was developed by Ukraine's Antonov company in the early 2000s, and was manufactured in both Ukraine and Russia.

Russia's S7 Airlines aircraft takes off at the Domodedovo Airport outside Moscow, Russia, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov - RC15C9AA7A50

Russia's S7 Airlines aircraft takes off at the Domodedovo Airport outside Moscow, Russia, November 2, 2017.  (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

While it remains to be seen what caused the crash on Sunday,  shabby equipment and poor supervision had plagued Russian civil aviation for years after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but its safety record has improved markedly in recent years.

The last large-scale crash in Russia occurred on Dec. 25, 2016, when a Tu-154 operated by the Russian Defense Ministry on its way to Syria crashed into the Black Sea minutes after takeoff from the southern Russian city of Sochi. All 92 people on board were killed.

In March 2016, a Boeing 737-800 flown by FlyDubai crashed while landing at Rostov-on-Don, killing all 62 people aboard.

An onboard bomb destroyed a Russian Metrojet airliner soon after taking off from Egypt's Sharm al-Sheikh resort, killing 244 people in October 2015.

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