Moscow, Aug 22: A Russian passenger plane
carrying 171 people, including six children, crashed on Tuesday
while on a flight to St Petersburg from the black sea resort
of Anapa just minutes after it hit adverse weather and the
pilot reported a fire on board.
"Everyone is dead according to preliminary
information," Interfax news agency quoted Russian emergency
situations ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova as saying.
The ill-fated Tupolev Tu-154 airliner belonging to St
Petersburg-based Pulkovo airlines was carrying 160 passengers,
including six children and 11 crew, Itar-Tass news agency
reported quoting the ministry.
The plane was at an altitude of 10000 metres when it
sent a distress signal and crashed shortly afterwards some 45
km north of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
The distress signal was sent by the crew at 1707 IST
and the plane disappeared from radar screens two minutes
later, Andrianova told Itar-Tass.
Preliminary investigations found that the crash was
linked to stormy weather and severe turbulence, aviation
officials told news agencies.
Before disappearing from the radar screens, the pilot
of the Tupolev reportedly told the ground controllers about a
fire on board and of his intention to make an emergency
landing, Interfax reported quoting disaster management
authorities in Ukraine.
They said the landing gear of the plane did not come
out and the plane`s belly hit the ground.