The unfortunate big development after Sunday's crash of a passenger jet outside Moscow comes from the country's transportation minister. "Judging by everything, no one has survived this crash," says Maxim Sokolov. Here is what is known:
- The victims: Sixty-five passengers and six crew members were aboard the plane, and the BBC reports that most of the passengers were from the Russian region of Orenburg in the Ural mountains.
- The cause: Way too early to tell. Investigators are looking into weather conditions (it was about 23 degrees Fahrenheit), human error, and the technical condition of the Antonov An-148 airliner, reports Reuters. But Russia's Investigative Committee wasn't ruling anything out at this point, reports the AP.
- After takeoff: The plane went down shortly after takeoff from Domodedovo Airport en route to Orsk, about 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow. Fragments of the plane were scattered about a large, remote region near the village of Argunovo.
- Engine explosion? The Guardian cites unconfirmed reports in Russian media that the captain had requested permission for an emergency landing at a nearby airport after reporting a technical malfunction. Witnesses reported seeing the plane in flames as it fell, leading to speculation that an engine had exploded before the crash.
- End of streak: This is the first crash of a commercial airliner in more than a year, following a sterling aviation record in 2017, notes the BBC.
- Putin: He offered his condolences to the families of victims and delayed a trip to the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where he planned to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.
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