Russian Plane Crash: Passenger Jet Crashes in Siberia, Killing 31 of 43 Aboard [Video]
Moscow — Russian emergency officials say at least 31 people were killed when a passenger plane crashed and erupted into flames in an oil-producing region of Siberia on Monday.
ABC News reports the aircraft, an ATR-72 plane carrying 39 passengers and four crew members, took off at 7:40am from Tyumen, a regional center in Siberia about 1,000 miles east of Moscow, heading for the oil town of Surgut, about 400 miles away.
Shortly after takeoff, the plane came down in a field about 2 miles away from the Tyumen airport, breaking into three sections upon impact.
French news agency, AFP, reported the plane’s cabin was on fire when rescuers arrived. Thirteen survivors were pulled from the wreckage, but one later died.
Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said the injured survivors were flown by helicopter to a hospital in Tyumen following the crash.
The cause of the tragic plane crash was not immediately clear, but investigators said evidence so far points to a technical failure of the French/Italian-made twin-engine turboprop.
“Investigators consider a technical malfunction in the plane, or an error by ground services or pilots as most likely causes,” the Russian Investigation Committee said. “Judging by the nature of the damage to the aircraft, investigators rule out a terrorist attack.”
The RIC also noted that witnesses reported seeing smoke coming from its engines as the plane came down and said the pilots had tried to return to the airport.
Reuters writes the crash was the worst in Russia since a passenger plane slammed into a riverbank near the city of Yaroslavl after takeoff on September 7, 2011, killing 44 people and wiping out the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team.
For more on the recent tragic Russian plane crash, watch the following video from MSNBC News: