50 killed in Boeing 737 airline crash in Russia: Ministry

PlaneA Boeing 737 belonging to a domestic Russian airline crashed at the time of landing killing all 50 people on board. (AP Photo)

A Boeing 737 belonging to a domestic Russian airline crashed on Sunday while attempting to land at anairport in western Tatarstan, killing all 50 people on board, Russia's emergency situations ministry said.

"According to preliminary information, all the people on board the flight, 44 passengers and six crew members, were killed," a ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

"There were no children among the passengers," she added. The local branch of the ministry said in an earlier statement that 44 people had died when the jet, arriving from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, crashed on landing in the Volga city of Kazan at 7:25 pm (1525 GMT). The Tatarstan Airlines plane "hit the runway and burst into flames", Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Local news agencies reported the plane had tried to land three times before crashing. Air safety in Russia is a major issue for the authorities following a severe deterioration in the quality of domestic services after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Officials blame most problems on pilot inexperience as well as poor maintenance by the small and poorly-regulated airlines that have sprouted up across Russia in the past two decades. Kazan is the capital city of the Russian republic of Tatarstan.

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