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|Wednesday, July 04, 2001, updated at 16:04(GMT+8)|
'Engine Failed' on Russian Plane, 12 Chinese Among Victims
Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu made the announcement shortly after search teams found one of the "black box" flight recorders of the Russian airliner.
Our specialists estimate the cause of the accident could have been a breakdown of the plane's fuel transmission system��
He told journalists that all three of the aircraft's engines had failed and that it plummeted from a height of 800 metres.
All passengers and crew aboard the Tupolev 154 died when it crashed on a flight on Tuesday evening from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg to Vladivostok in Russia's far east.
Officials initially said that 133 passengers and 10 crew were on board according to the passenger manifest.
But there are now reports that there may have been several passengers without tickets on board possibly increasing the number to 145.
There are 12 Chinese among these victims, a Russian official said.
Putin orders plane crash inquiryBoth black box flight recorders have been recovered from the scene of a Russian plane crash in which more than 140 people died.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigatory commission to be set up, headed by deputy prime minister Ilya Klebanov, which will look into the causes of the accident.
All Passengers KilledNone of the 143 passengers and crew members aboard a Russian Tu-154 plane survived a Tuesday crash near the Siberian city of Irkutsk, the press service of the Emergency Ministry announced.
Itar-Tass quoted the press service as saying that no survivor was found after the fire at the crash site had been put out by midnight Moscow time.
According to preliminary data, there was no victim of local residents, who happened to be at the crash place.
A total of 133 passengers and 10 crew members were registered in flight documents, said the press service, but warned of the possibility of some passengers without tickets.
The plane, belonging to the Vladivostokavia Airline, disappeared from radar screens at 21:10 Moscow time (1710GMT), on a flight from the Ural city of Yekaterinburg to Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.
It was then found burning near the village of Budyonnovka, 22 kilometers away from Irkutsk, said the Russian State Civil Aviation Service when confirming the tragedy.
Interfax said a group of specialists from the Irkutsk airport is examining the crash site. An Il-76 plane, with 30 specialists from the Emergency Ministry on board, also has left Moscow for the place.
President Vladimir Putin was immediately informed of the incident, and instructed the Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to form a state commission to investigate the cause of the disaster, the Presidential Press Secretary Alexei Gromov said late Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who is scheduled to fly to the Irkutsk Wednesday, was appointed chairman of the commission, Gromvo said.
Mechanical fault probably caused Russian plane crashThe crash of a Russian passenger plane, which killed all 145 people aboard, was caused by a mechanical problem, a senior executive of the airline which owned the plane said Wednesday.
"Our specialists estimate the cause of the accident could have been a breakdown of the plane's fuel transmission system," said the Vladivostokavia regional airline executive, who asked not to be made.
All passengers and crew were killed when the Tupolev 154 crashed on a Tuesday evening flight from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg to Vladivostok in Russia's far east, as it approached the city of Irkutsk for a scheduled stop.
It crashed 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Irkutsk, as it was preparing to make a routine refueling stop, shortly after contact was lost with air traffic control, the interior ministry was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying.
"They all died," Emergencies Ministry duty officer Edmund Musin told Reuters by telephone from Irkutsk.
Officials initially said 133 passengers and 10 crew had died. Conflicting reports said later that there may have been any number from 142 to 145 people on board.
"Rescue workers will try to find remains, fragments, and will be looking for the black box recorder...but firefighters have to finish putting out the fire before they can begin work," an Emergencies Ministry spokesman told RTR state television.
The plane, belonging to the airline Vladivostokavia, disappeared from radar screens about 9:10 pm Moscow time (1710 GMT), near the village of Burdakovka.
Russian news agencies quoted witnesses describing a large explosion and fire in a district where many locals have dachas, or small country homes, not far from Lake Baikal.
The Kremlin press office said President Vladimir Putin ordered Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to form a commission to investigate the crash. Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov was to chair the commission. Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu was flying out to Irkutsk, agencies reported.
Russia has an elderly civil aviation fleet, mostly built in Soviet times, but has not suffered a major civilian air disaster in several years. A Russian military plane crashed in Georgia last October, killing more than 80 people on board.
The Tupolev 154, a workhorse for Russia's many airlines covering huge distances across the former Soviet Union, has been involved in three previous major crashes on Russian soil since 1994, killing more than 350 people.
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