MOSCOW. An Antonov AN-148 regional passenger jet operated by Saratov Airlines carrying 71 people, including 65 passengers and 6 crew members, crashed and caught fire minutes after takeoff from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, killing everyone on board, officials at the Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsiya) confirm.
Investigators are working to uncover the cause, and crews are working to recover aircraft fragments and hundreds of body parts strewn over an area being described simply as “large” near the Russian village of Stepanovskoye, said to be roughly 40 kilometers from the airport.
Video: RT. RT is funded in whole or in part by the Russian government/
All potential causes are being investigated and employees of Saratov Airlines and the Domodedovo airport, who had a hand in preparing the plane for flight, are being questioned, officials say. Officials speculate that human error or malfunctioning equipment could be to blame. New outlets are reporting conflicting details, noting that eyewitness indicate the aircraft separated prior to crashing and catching fire, while others say the plane lost altitude, then crashed, and burst into flames.
Radio contact was lost minutes after takeoff, when the flight also disappeared from radar. It was initially reported that the crew did not report any issues prior to, during, and immediately after takeoff. RT, funded in whole or part by the Russian government reports: "The pilot of the Antonov An-148 jet that crashed in the Moscow region reported a technical fault, according to a Russian media outlet citing sources close to the investigation. The plane was expected to make an emergency landing."
Officials say both of the aircraft’s flight recorders – a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder – have been recovered, but what, if anything, they reveal is unknown as yet.
The Antonov AN-148 is a 148-passenger regional jet designed and built by Antonov of Ukraine. The flight was traveling from Moscow to Orsk, near the border of Kazakhstan.
Information gleaned from official statements and both local and international news coverage.