Mon, Dec 06, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Russian jet crash-lands after engines fail, killing two

AP, MOSCOW

Two engines failed on a Russian passenger jet shortly after takeoff and the plane made an emergency landing as its third engine cut out, skidding off the snowy runway and breaking apart, officials said.

Two people were killed and 83 injured.

The plane, a Tupolev Tu-154 belonging to Dagestan Airlines, was carrying at least 155 people when it landed at Domodedovo International Airport on Saturday, Russian federal aviation agency spokesman Sergei Izvolsky said.

The cause of the engine failure was unclear, he said, but recent crashes involving the aging Tu-154 aircraft have prompted the Russian carrier Aeroflot to stop using it.

Officials said 155 people were aboard the Dagestan Airlines plane, but the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said in a Web site statement that the aircraft was carrying 168 passengers and eight crewmembers. It was not immediately possible to resolve the discrepancy.

The plane had taken off from another Moscow hub, Vnukovo International Airport, and was en route to Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s southern region of Dagestan, officials said. Izvolsky said the pilot received signals that engines had cut out about 80km into the flight at an altitude of 9,100m and requested an emergency landing at Domodedovo, to the southeast of Moscow.

The Russian federal Investigative Committee said in a Web site statement that two of the three engines had initially cut out and the third failed as the plane was coming in to land.

“The plane slid off the runway and, having hit uneven ground, broke up,” the statement said.

A previous committee statement had said the plane slammed into buildings after touching down.

Passenger Vitaly Chumak was quoted by Russian news agency Interfax as saying the plane broke into three parts after landing and barely missed a fence.

In September, a Tu-154 airliner was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew when it suffered an electrical system failure while flying from the northern Siberian town of Polyarnyi to Moscow. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev bestowed awards on the pilot, who landed the plane and avoided casualties, despite rolling into a forest outside an abandoned military base.

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