Russian Plane Crash Kills 44, 8 Survive

RusAir_Tupolev_Tu-134A Tupolev Tu-134 plane crashed in Russia on Monday, killing 44 out of its 52 passengers and crew in the latest disaster to hit the former Soviet republic’s aviation industry.

According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the RusAir passenger jet with Flight number 9605 from Moscow was attempting to land at an airport in the city of Petrozavodsk when it crashed on a nearby highway. The aircraft reportedly broke upon impact before bursting into flames. Authorities said “unfavorable weather conditions” may have caused the RusAir Flight 9605 to crash. Thick fog had reportedly significantly reduced visibility in the area. In addition, the high-intensity runway lights at the Petrozavodsk airport malfunctioned as the plane made its final approach.

However, airport officials said the plane’s pilot had been told to attempt a second approach as the aircraft started its descent earlier than scheduled. According to the officials, the pilot did not heed the advice and proceeded to land anyway. The Emergencies Ministry said an investigation has been launched to ascertain the real cause of the accident, which came just over year since former Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others were killed on April 10, 2010, when their plane crashed amid thick fog near the city of Smolensk.