'Pilot error' blamed for north-west Russia crash

Jun 21 2011

Officials are investigating the cause of a plane crash in north-western Russia that killed 44 people.

Russian Deputy PM Sergey Ivanov said the crash, near the city of Petrozavodsk, was probably caused by pilot error in poor weather conditions.

The plane had veered away from the airport runway and attempted to land on a motorway but crashed and caught fire.

Eight people including a 10-year-old boy survived the crash with severe injuries.

His 14-year-old sister and a flight attendant were also rescued from the wreckage.

The RusAir Tupolev 134 plane, with 43 passengers and nine crew on board, was flying from the capital, Moscow, to Petrozavodsk, the main city in the Karelia region.

It just missed houses close to the motorway. One source told the Interfax news agency that bodies were strewn across the road.

A mobile phone video of the scene shortly afterwards showed flames from the wreckage soaring into the night sky.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC

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