UPDATE 2 – Passenger plane crashes in field near Moscow, killing 71

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A Saratov Airlines plane carrying more than 70 people has crashed on the outskirts of the Russian capital of Moscow, killing everyone on board, local officials say. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

The accident happened on early Sunday afternoon after the aircraft, an Antonov An-148, took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport for a flight to Orsk, which is a city near the border with Kazakhstan. A total of 65 passengers and 6 crew members were on board.

Flight-tracking services showed that Saratov Airlines Flight 6W703 took off from Domodedovo Airport at 2:20 p.m. local time and reached an altitude of 6,400 feet (1,950 meters) about 5 minutes later. It then briefly lost and regained altitude before plummeting to the ground.

Footage from the scene showed that the aircraft had crashed in a field in Stepanovskoye, a village about 42 kilometers (26 miles) southeast of central Moscow. Several bodies were found and there were no signs of the survivors, authorities said.

The cause of Sunday’s accident was not immediately known. Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal investigation on the basis of possible violations of flight rules, but such investigations are a standard procedure when an accident results in mass casualties.

The crash is Russia’s worst aviation disaster since December 2016, when a military plane carrying 92 people crashed into the Black Sea off Sochi, killing everyone on board. It also marks the worst aviation accident worldwide since a military plane crashed off Myanmar in June 2017, killing 122 people.

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