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Photo: Saratov Airlines

Russia air crash: Investigators search for clues

The second flight recorder from the Antonov An-148 aircraft has been found.

Investigators are searching snow-covered fields near Moscow to find out why a plane crashed killing all 65 passengers and six crew on board. The second flight recorder from the aircraft has been found.

The Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148 plummeted to the ground just a few minutes after take-off from Domodedovo airport on Sunday, having been bound for Orsk in the Ural Mountains.

Weather conditions, human error and technical failure are all possible causes, the BBC reports. Terrorism has not been mentioned.

As many as 700 people are involved in the search, helped by snowmobiles and nine drones.

Wreckage and body parts are being recovered from a large area of around 30 hectares, near the village of Argunovo, 80 kilometres from Moscow.

So far more than 200 body parts have been recovered, but finding all of all of the victims’ remains could take up to a week, officials say.

Most of the passengers were from Orsk and the surrounding region of Orenburg, but also among those killed was a man from Switzerland and another from Azerbaijan.

No emergency call
Contact was lost minutes from the plane shortly after it took off at 14:27. According to the flight-tracking site Flightradar24, it then descended at a rate of 1,000 metres per minute.

There was no emergency call from the seven-year-old aircraft. Eyewitnesses say the plane was on fire as it fell. The airline said the pilot had 5,000 hours of flight experience.

Saratov Airlines is based in Saratov, 840 kilometres southeast of Moscow. The carrier was hit by controversy in 2015, when surprise inspectors found someone other than the crew in the cockpit of one of its flights. It was banned from operating international flights, but the ban was overturned the following year.

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