All aboard Russian airliner killed

All 170 passengers and crew on a Russian airliner that crashed in eastern Ukraine have been killed.

    The airliner crashed minutes after sending a distress signal

    "Unfortunately, we believe that no one managed to survive," Irina Andriyanova, Russia's emergency situations ministry spokeswoman, said.

    Forty-five children and 10 crew members were among the dead, according to the deputy head of St Petersburg-based Pulkovo airlines which operated the aircraft. 

    The airliner was flying from the Black Sea resort of Anapa to Saint Petersburg when it disappeared from radar screens after issuing an SOS, the emergency ministry said.

    The wreckage of the Tupolev Tu-154 has been found about 45km north of Donestk.

    Russian authorities said they had ruled out terrorism.

    "The plane most likely was hit by lightning," Andriyanova said in televised comments. "After it fell, it broke apart and burst into flames."

    Another Russian aviation official said the aeroplane might have run into strong turbulence, the Interfax news agency reported.

    A Tupolev Tu-154

    (file)

    Igor Krol, a spokeman for the Ukrainian emergencies ministry, said that a fire had broken out in the plane at an altitude of 10,000 metres. The crew had then decided to make an emergency landing.

    Anatoly Simushin, Pulkovo Airlines deputy director, said the pilot sent four distress signals as he tried to climb above the storm, then descended to an exceptionally low altitude of 3,000 metres before crashing.

    The 16-year-old aircraft had flown 9,000km since its last maintenance check, airline officials said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.