MOSCOW, NNC - A Russia-based Saratov Airlines passenger aircraft has reportedly crashed near Moscow on Sunday, February 11, 2018, according to the Russian Emergency Ministry. It is also reported that 71 people on board have been confirmed dead.
It is unclear what caused the accident, but the aircraft crash may be attributed to weather conditions, pilot errors, or technical failure.
FoxNews reported that the Saratov Airlines passenger aircraft took off from Domodedovo Airport to Orsk, about 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow.
The aircraft departed from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport and spent about 5 minutes in the air before the flight’s signal disappeared from radar about 12 miles southeast of the airport, according to flight tracking site Flightradar24.
The wreckage of the AN-148 aircraft was spotted in the village of Stepanovskoye, about 40 kilometers from Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, February 11, 2018. Russia's Emergency Ministry said the passenger plane crashed near Moscow, and that fragments of the aircraft have been found. The wreckage of the aircraft is spread over a large area around the crash site.
A source from Russia's emergency service told Interfax that those on board had no chance of survival.
Russia President Vladimir Putin conveyed his condolences to the families of those killed in the accident, and ordered an investigation into the tragic accident.
"The president instructed the government to set up a special commission to investigate the aircraft crash in the Moscow region, and instructed relevant agencies to conduct the necessary search operations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said to Interfax.
Meanwhile, witnesses in the village told local media that they saw a an aircraft burning down from the sky.
A local resident told REN-TV that she heard an explosion. "I left the house, saw the plane, then an explosion was heard and the sky was red," the unnamed woman told the station.
No further information on the aircraft crash in Russia has been published as of yet.