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Russian jet carrying hockey team crashes, 43 dead
Russian jet carrying top ice hockey team crashes, killing at least 43 people
By The Associated Press

TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP) ' Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry says at least 43 people have died in the crash of a Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team.

The ministry said the plane was carrying 45 people, including 37 passengers and eight crew. The ministry said all but two people were killed in the crash.

The ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after takeoff from an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow.



THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

YAROSLAVL, Russia (AP) ' A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed while taking off Wednesday in western Russia, killing at least 36 people and leaving one critically injured, officials said.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow. It said one person survived the crash with grave injuries.

The weather was sunny and clear at the time.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin immediately sent the nation's transport minister to the site, 10 miles (15 kilometers) east of Yaroslavl.

The ministry said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl. The team was heading to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season of the Kontinental Hockey League.

The KHL is an international club league that pits together teams from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Slovakia.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is a leading force in Russian hockey and came third in the KHL last year. It's coached by Canadian Brad McCrimmon and includes several international stars in its ranks, such as Stefan Liv of Sweden and Czech Republic players Josef Vaicek and Jan Marek.

It wasn't immediately clear which players were on board the Yak-42 on Wednesday.

Lokomotiv was a three-time Russian League champion in 1997, 2002-2003. It took bronze last season.

The short- and medium-range Yak-42 has been in service since 1980 and dozens are still in service with Russian and other airlines.

President Dmitry Medvedev has announced plans to take aging Soviet-built planes out of service starting next year.

In June, another Russian passenger jet crashed in the northwestern city of Petrozavodsk, killing 47 people. The crash of that Tu-134 plane has been blamed on pilot error.


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