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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 July 2006, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Passenger plane crashes in Russia
Crash site in Siberia
The jet hit a building, broke up and burst into flames

Nearly 150 people, including many children, are feared dead after a Russian airliner crashed in Siberia.

The S7 Airlines Airbus was flying from Moscow when it crashed on landing at Irkutsk airport.

The plane reportedly slid off the runway and hit a building at about 0800 on Sunday (2300 GMT Saturday).

About 55 people were injured, Russian officials said. The plane was carrying 192 passengers and eight crew. All the crew were said to have died.

Many of the passengers were reported to be children travelling to the nearby popular holiday destination of Lake Baikal.

The A-310 - operated by S7, known until recently as Sibir Airlines - appeared to veer out of control on landing.

Crash survivor Margarita Svetlova
It was terrible, really terrible because people were shouting, people were on fire
Margarita Svetlova, crash survivor

It overshot the runway then crashed through a concrete wall, before hitting a building close to the airfield. It then broke up and burst into flames.

The cabin was wrecked and passengers were evacuated via the rear of the aircraft, according to rescuers.

Several passengers were seen jumping from the wreckage. Most of those being treated in hospital were suffering from burns.

"It was terrible, really terrible because people were shouting, people were on fire," said crash survivor Margarita Svetlova.

"Someone shouted that it was all going to blow up. So I ran out of fear, I ran out," she told Russia's Channel One Europe TV.

The fire took three hours to put out, authorities said.

Investigation

Rescue workers are sifting through the wreckage, and have recovered about 120 bodies so far.

The precise cause of the crash remains unclear. Officials said the two flight recorders had been recovered and an investigation is under way.

Map

Eleven of the passengers were foreigners, from Poland, Germany, Moldova, South Korea and China, an airline official said.

It was not immediately known if any of them were among the dead.

Irkutsk airport was the scene of another fatal crash, in July 2001, when a Tu-154 plane fell to the ground on its final approach, killing all 145 on board. Authorities blamed pilot error.

Just two months ago, on 3 May, an Armenian Airbus A320 flying to Sochi in Russia crashed into the Black Sea killing all 113 people on board.

And in August 2004, 89 passengers and crew died when two aircraft - a Tu-134 and a Tu-154 - crashed about 800km (500 miles) apart on the same night after leaving Moscow's Domodedovo airport.


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Siberian plane crash
09 Jul 06 |  In Pictures
Air disasters timeline
03 May 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
03 Jul 06 |  Country profiles




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