Russian investigators are to open an inquiry after a Tupolev Tu-134 crashed at the airport of Petrozavodsk.

Details about the circumstances of the accident are sketchy but the country's emergencies ministry said the aircraft had made a "hard landing". It broke into several pieces on the outskirts of the airport and caught fire.

Images from the scene indicate that the Tu-134 was part of the fleet of executive jet operator RusAir, with a partial registration suggesting the aircraft's identity is RA-65691.

There were 43 passengers and nine crew members on the twinjet, the emergencies ministry stated. It has disclosed a passenger manifest indicating several survivors.

The ministry's Ilyushin Il-76 emergency response aircraft arrived at the scene at 06:45 Moscow time, it added, carrying rescue personnel.

Petrozavosk airport, which has a single runway, is located some 400km north-east of St Petersburg.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news