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171 killed in Russian plane crash

August 22, 2006 20:51 IST

A Russian passenger aircraft on its way from the Black Sea resort of Anapa to St Petersburg crashed in Ukraine killing 171 people on board, including 11 crew members.

The ill-fated Tupolev Tu-154 airliner belonging to Pulkovo Airlines was at an altitude of 10000 metres when it sent a distress signal and crashed shortly afterwards some 45 km north of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

Before disappearing from the radar screens, the aircraft's pilot reportedly told the ground controllers about a fire on board and of his intention to make an emergency landing, Interfax reported, quoting disaster management authorities in neighbouring Ukraine.

They said the landing gear of the plane did not come out and the plane's belly hit the ground.

So far, 30 charred bodies have been recovered by the Ukrainian rescuers from the burning wreckage of the plane strewn over a wide area, Radio Mayak reported.

Vinay Shukla in Moscow
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