Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Breaking: Russian plane crash kills 44.

MOSCOW — A passenger airplane that had been chartered by one of Russia’s best known hockey teams crashed during take-off Wednesday, killing many of its star players and a major portion of the team, in the latest air disaster here this summer.

The Yak-42 jet was carrying the team, called Lokomotiv, from their home in Yaroslavl, a city northeast of Moscow, to an away game in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

The initial accounts of the number of people on board varied from 37 to 44. A Russian aviation official told the Interfax news agency that all but one — a member of the crew — had died.

The list of victims was not immediately published, but a spokesman for Lokomotiv said the starting lineup and many of the top players had died.

“We have no team any more,” Vladimir N. Malkov, the spokesman, said in a telephone interview. “All our starting players, and all the service people, they all burned in the crash.”

The plane was one of the vintage, Soviet-designed needle-nosed aircraft that have been the focus of safety concerns after a series of crashes and mishaps, including a crash in June that killed most of the 52 passengers on board.

The plane that crashed Wednesday came down about 500 yards from the runway shortly after 4 p.m., the Russia Today television news channel reported.

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