Russian passenger jet crashes, likely killing 71

President Nazarbayev condoles with Vladimir Putin over passenger plane crash

A Russian passenger plane carrying up to 71 people that was originally thought missing after it took off has crashed near Moscow shortly after taking off, Russian officials confirmed Sunday.

Saratov Airlines Flight 703, with 65 passengers and a crew of six, was bound for Orsk when it departed Moscow at 2:21 p.m. local time, the ministry said.

The Russian-made plane had been bought by Saratov from another Russian airline a year ago. The wreckage was spread over a wide area due to mid air disintegration of the aircraft due to the on board fire.

"Debris has been found, there are no survivors", news agency TASS quoted a source as saying.

Fire and rescue divisions, ambulance brigades and other emergency services were immediately dispatched to the crash site, authorities said.

Fresh gunshots heard — Sunjwan attack
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"The recognition will be possible only through the DNA examination", said Maxim Sokolov, Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation.

President Vladimir Putin postponed a planned trip to Sochi to closely monitor the investigation. Witnesses told the news agency that they saw a plane in flames.

Images broadcast on state TV showed relatives waiting at Orsk airport, some with their heads in their hands. The Russian Emergencies Ministry said on Twitter that the recovery process would require 150 people and 20 vehicles.

President Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said: "The president has instructed the government to set up a special commission over the plane crash in the Moscow region". It was put into storage from 2015 to 2017 because of the parts shortage.

Tass reported that it re-entered service for Saratov Airlines in February 2017.

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