From the BBC
A passenger plane that crashed on the outskirts of
a Russian city, killing all 88 people on board, probably had a
technical failure, officials say.
The Boeing-737-500, belonging to a branch of the national
airline Aeroflot, was on a flight from Moscow to Perm, near the Ural
Twenty-one foreign passengers were on board.
Radio contact with the plane was lost as it was landing amid low cloud cover, said the airline.
"The Boeing-737 carried 82 passengers on board, including seven children, and six crew," Aeroflot said in a statement.
"As the plane was coming in for landing, it lost communication
at the height of 1,100 metres and air controllers lost its blip. The
airplane was found within Perm's city limits completely destroyed and
Contact with the plane was lost at 0321 Moscow time on Sunday (0021 BST), said the airline.
The flight crashed on the city outskirts, just a few hundred metres
from residential buildings, but no one was hurt on the ground.
The 21 foreigners killed were listed as nine people from
Azerbaijan, five from Ukraine and one person each from France,
Switzerland, Latvia, the United States, Germany, Turkey and Italy,
The most likely cause of the crash was technical failure,
Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the federal prosecutors' Investigative
Committee, told Russian television.
Investigators have recovered two black box recorders from the
crash site. There was no immediate suggestion of an attack or sabotage.
Correspondents say the tragedy will be a setback for Russian
aviation, which has been trying to shake off a chequered safety record.
Aeroflot deputy director Lev Koshlyakov said no problem was
reported with the 15-year-old jet when it was last inspected at the
beginning of 2008.
Part of the Trans-Siberian railway was shut down as a result of damage to the main east-west train track.
A woman in Perm told Vesti-24 TV how she was thrown out of bed by the force of the blast when the plane crashed.
She said: "My daughter ran in from the next room crying: 'What happened? Has a war begun or what?'"
"My neighbours, other witnesses, told me that it was burning in the air, it looked like a comet."
Pavel Shevchenko, 36, who lives in Perm near the crash site,
told AP news agency that a neighbour saw the plane hitting the ground
sharply - at a 30 or 40 degree angle.
The plane burned on the ground for some two hours before fire
crews extinguished the blaze. It belonged to Aeroflot-Nord - Aeroflot's
Sunday's accident was the deadliest involving a Russian
airliner since 170 people died in August 2006 when a Tupolev-154 bound
for St Petersburg crashed in Ukraine.