A passenger jet crash landed Monday on a desolate stretch of road in northwest Russia, killing at least 40 people, ITAR-TASS, the Russian state news agency, reported.
The plane reportedly took off from Moscow carrying 48 passengers and five crew members. It wasn’t certain what brought the plane down about 2 miles from Petrozavodsk airport, its destination, according to ITAR-TASS. But the RusAir twin-engine Tupolev-134 plane caught fire and the fuselage reportedly was destroyed.
Officials said the plane crash landed in a field, 2 miles away from the airport. Eyewitnesses said that the plane broke up and caught fire on landing. Early signs point to a mechanical error.
Rescuers working at the crash site have already discovered both flight recorders from the aircraft.
A Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Il-76 aircraft with rescuers and psychologists on board took off from Moscow to Petrozavodsk. It will take eight injured to hospitals in the Russian capital.
The Tu-134 aircraft was launched in 1967 to become the most widely used airliner in the Soviet Union. It is capable of carrying 76 passengers.