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71 killed in Russia passenger plane crash

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MOSCOW — A Russian passenger plane has crashed near Moscow soon after take-off, killing all 71 people on board. Saratov Airlines’ Antonov An-148 jet carrying 65 passengers and 6 crew crashed after take-off outside Moscow.

The Saratov Airlines regional jet disappeared from radar screens a few minutes after departing from Domodedovo Airport en route to the city of Orsk, about 1,500 kilometres south-east of Moscow.

Domodedovo air traffic control lost contact with Saratov Airlines flight 703, bound for Orsk, several minutes after take off, an official from Russia’s Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) told local media.

Emergency services immediately deployed rapid response teams to the reported crash site, but rescuers and medics had to reach it on foot, walking through the countryside buried under snow.

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Fragments from the airliner were found in the Ramenskoye area, about 40 kilometres from the airport. Preliminary reports say the wreckage is spread across an area between adjacent villages.

The office of Russia’s transport prosecutor said all 71 people on board had been killed. The Emergencies Ministry said the search-and-rescue operation will work around the clock, with the crash site observed by drones.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov confirmed there were no survivors and said DNA tests would be needed to identify the dead.

President Vladimir Putin offered condolences to those who had lost relatives and ordered a special investigative commission to be set up. Putin also put off a planned trip to Sochi in order to closely monitor the investigation.

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5 dead as gunman attacks churchgoers in Russia

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At least five people were killed and another five were injured when a gunman attacked a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported.

The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan.

Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

CCTV footage from the site of the deadly shooting shows a man armed with a rifle gunning down two women in broad daylight.

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A bearded man clad in a black vest and camouflage pants was seen crossing the street before opening fire on two female churchgoers as they left a service in Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday afternoon. A woman walking several meters from the attacker was seen rushing away as the bloodshed unfolded.

The attacker was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person.

Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry.

Agencies

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