News ID: 209827
Published: 0550 GMT February 12, 2018

Iran extends condolences to Russia over plane crash

Iran extends condolences to Russia over plane crash

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi extended condolences to the Russian government and people over a deadly plane crash and sympathized with the bereaved families of the victims, the ministry’s official website reported.

A Russian passenger jet crashed minutes after takeoff from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport on Sunday, killing all 71 people on board.

Emergency workers in Russia searched snow-covered fields outside Moscow on Monday, looking for body fragments and clues after the fatal plane crash, Reuters reported.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered a special commission to investigate what caused the An-148 plane operated by Saratov Airlines to crash outside Moscow shortly after taking off for the city of Orsk about 900 miles (1,500km) southeast of the capital.

Among the possible causes investigators are looking into are weather, human error and the plane’s technical condition. The crew did not send any distress signals.

Experts plan to study the plane’s two flight recorders, which were recovered, as well as plane fragments. Footage from a CCTV camera that captured some of what happened was posted online on Monday. It showed what looked like a large ball of fire streaking through the sky.

Investigators, who have opened a criminal case into the tragedy, said in a statement however that the plane had been in one piece when it plummeted toward the ground and not on fire. An explosion had occurred only after it crashed, they said.

Debris and human remains were spread over a radius of one kilometer (less than a mile) around the crash site and recovery teams had found over 200 body fragments so far, the RIA news agency reported, saying the search could carry on for a week.

The plane, manufactured in 2010, had been carrying 65 passengers and six crew. The passenger list showed many young people were on board, including a five-year-old girl.

The plane’s operator, Saratov Airlines, said in a statement on Monday it was temporarily grounding its fleet of An-148 planes until investigators had established what happened.

It said the plane involved in the crash had undergone thorough checks last month and that it had successfully flown several other routes on the same day as the crash.

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