7 Dead, 26 Injured In Russia Plane Crash

A Tu-134 passenger airplane is seen at Moscow's Vnukovo airport, Russia, in this March 2003, file photo. Five people were killed and 51 injured in the crash landing of a Russian Tu-134 airliner in the city of Samara, about 550 miles southeast of Moscow, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry said. AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev

A Russian airliner made a crash landing Saturday in the Volga River city of Samara, killing five people and leaving 26 injured, a government official said.

Emergency Situations Ministry Spokesman Viktor Beltsov described the accident as a "hard landing" of a Tu-134 plane. The NTV television channel said the plane landed on its fuselage after the landing gear failed to come down.

A Russian airliner made a crash landing Saturday in the Volga River city of Samara, killing seven people, a government official said.

Emergency Situations Ministry Spokesman Viktor Beltsov described the accident as a "hard landing" of a Tu-134 plane. The NTV television channel said the plane landed on its fuselage after the landing gear failed to come down.

"The landing occurred in heavy fog and during touchdown a wing clipped the ground." said Irina Andrianova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry

But prosecutors, who were investigating the crash, cited possible pilot error, and said in a statement that the plane touched down too early, landing about 400 yards before the start of the runway.

The plane belonged to the Russian airline UTAir and had 57 people on board, Andrianova said. She said there was no fire after the crash, but had no further details about how the accident occurred.

Andrianova said seven people were killed, 26 were injured and hospitalized — six of them in serious condition — and the rest of the people on board were receiving psychological help. Earlier, officials had said 51 people had been injured, but they revised the figure, explaining that some were being treated for psychological shock.

Relatives waited at Samara airport for news, but one woman claimed that they had not been given enough information on the injured passengers.

"There was no information at all. They just gave us the telephone of the local government office in Tyumen and that of the police at the airport," said a woman whose sister and nephew were aboard the plane.

"There's no numbers for the hospital or anything," she added.

Samara is about 550 miles southeast of Moscow.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the incident, transport officials and prosecutors said.

Tu-134s, an ageing model, are widely used in the former Soviet Union. The plane that crashed was en route to Samara from Surgut, about 1,000 miles to the east.

The last major crash of a Russian airliner was on Aug. 22, when a Tu-154 of Pulkovo Airlines crashed in Ukraine, killing all 170 people aboard.

In July, an Airbus-310 of S7 airlines went off the runway after landing in Irkutsk, smashed into adjacent buildings and caught fire, killing 123 of the 203 people aboard. In May, an Armenian Airbus-320 crashed into the Black Sea while trying to land in the southern Russian city of Sochi, killing all 113 people aboard.
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