Russian jet carrying hockey team crashes, more than 32 dead

Ice hockey team Lokomotiv. Photo from the website of the KHL.

Ice hockey team Lokomotiv. Photo from the website of the KHL.Thirty four are dead in a Yakovlev Yak-42 passenger plane crash near the city of Yaroslavl in Central Russia. The majority of victims were members of the local ice hockey team Lokomotiv.

The plane went down and caught fire shortly after taking to the air. The crash site is merely 500 meters from the runway.

The Yak-42 was on its way to the Belarusian capital Minsk and had 37 people on board, aviation authorities reported. The aircraft’s maximum capacity is 120 passengers and crew.

Several of the victims were foreign players for the club. The squad includes players from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden.

The three survivors are in a serious condition and have been taken to hospital.

The Yaroslavl HC Lokomotiv were Russian Champions in 1997, 2002 and 2003. The squad was to play a match against Mink HC Dinamo on Thursday.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the incident. The Interstate Aviation Committee, a regional regulating body, has launched its own probe into the cause of the crash.

Prime Minister Putin ordered Transport Minister Igor Levitin to organize the initial part of the investigation at the scene.

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