71-passenger Russia plane crashes after Moscow take-off

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A Russian passenger plane has crashed after leaving Moscow’s Domodedovo airport with 71 people on board.

The Saratov Airlines jet vanished minutes after take-off and crashed near the village of Argunovo, about 80km (50 miles) south-east of Moscow.

All those on board are thought to have died, officials told Russian media.

The An-148 was en route to the city of Orsk in the Urals, near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan. It crashed early in the afternoon local time.

Flight-tracking site Flightradar24 tweets that the aircraft was descending at 1,000m (3,300ft) per minute (60km/h, 38mph) five minutes after taking off.

Russian airlines have suffered two major plane crashes in recent years:
■ A Tu-154 military airliner crashed into the Black Sea with the loss of all 92 people aboard on 25 December 2016, with the disaster blamed on pilot error
■ A Russian Airbus A321 carrying tourists crashed in Sinai, Egypt, with the loss of all 224 people aboard on 31 October 2015; the Islamic State group said it had placed a bomb aboar

Saratov Airlines is based in Saratov, 840km south-east of Moscow. In 2015 it was banned from operating international flights when surprise inspectors found someone other than the flight crew was in the cockpit.

The airline appealed against the ban and changed its policy before resuming international charter flights in 2016.
It flies mainly between Russian cities but also has destinations in Armenia and Georgia.

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