Four crew killed as two Il-76s collide on ground in Russia

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Four crew members of an Ilyushin Il-76 transport have died after the aircraft was struck by another Il-76 which was taxiing at Makhachkala Airport in southern Russia yesterday.

After landing, one of the Il-76s was taxiing in reduced-visibility conditions when its wing struck the cockpit of the second aircraft, which had been preparing for departure.

In a statement on the accident the Russian interior ministry says that, as a result of the collision's damaging electrical equipment, a fire began in the cockpit resulting in dense smoke.

While the fire was extinguished by the airfield emergency services, four of the seven crew members - all from the military - were killed and another two injured. The seventh crew member was, at the time, in a different section of the jet and escaped injury.

"The wing-tip of the aircraft that was taxiing has been destroyed," adds the ministry, but says that around 30 personnel on board were not hurt.

Weather data around the time of the collision, reportedly 20:45, indicates freezing fog in the vicinity. The ministry states that a commission of inquiry is being established in Moscow to investigate the accident.

Makhachkala is located near the western coast of the Caspian Sea.