Ageing aircraft

Prosecutors said the dead included all of the passengers and one crew member.

"The captain of the plane, the co-pilot, the mechanic and one passenger have been hospitalised," they added in a statement.

Russian news reports said the plane belonged to the small regional airline Katekavia.

Firefighters and rescue workers have arrived at the crash site above the Arctic circle, more than 2,500km from Moscow.

The reason for the crash was not immediately known.

Rosaviatsia, the Russian aviation authority, said heavy rain was falling at the time of the crash, but conditions were still adequate for landing.

While air security in Russia has tightened in the last years,  disasters still occur relatively frequently due to ageing equipment and poor observance of safety rules.

The An-24, a warhorse of Soviet civil aviation, has been involved in a string of deadly crashes in recent years.

In 1997, 50 people were killed in an An-24 crash in Russia's south while 28 were killed in a crash in the Far North in 2005.

Despite production of the plane ending in 1979, it is still widely used by airlines throughout Russia and the former Soviet Union.