71 die in Russian plane crash

A Russian plane carrying 71 people crashed near Moscow shortly after takeoff on Sunday, killing all on board.

Flight 703, operated by the Russian regional carrier Saratov Airlines, was carrying 65 passengers and six crew members, The New York Times reports.

The plane went down near the village of Stepanovskoe, about 50 miles south-east of Moscow in the Ramenskoye District, according to a  statement from the  Russian Emergency Situations Ministry .

There were no survivors, Moscow’s regional transportation prosecutor-general confirmed. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The Russian aviation authority, Rosaviatsia, said the flight departed at 2:21 p.m. from Domodedovo Airport. The Antonov AN-148, a small regional jet, was headed to the city of Orsk in the Orenburg region, about 1,000 miles south-east of Moscow, near the border with Kazakhstan.

“Several minutes after takeoff, radio connection with the crew disappeared, the plane’s mark disappeared from radars,” the  Emergency Situations Ministry  said.

FlightRadar24, an online site that tracks real-time flight information, shows the plane losing altitude just six minutes after takeoff. It reached 6,400 feet before dropping to 5,800 feet, rising again briefly and falling sharply – all within one minute.

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