Russian Plane Carrying 71 People Reportedly Crashes Near Moscow

Crash site of Saratov Airlines jet spotted outside Moscow — reports

The plane is understood to have had 65 passengers on board alongside six crew members.

The area, which is covered in snow, has been hard to access leaving some rescue workers to get to the wreckage by foot.

Russian Federation has seen record high snowfall in recent days and visibility was reportedly poor. Following the crash, emergency ministry of Russian Federation said that it was verifying the reports of the crash.

The aircraft - an Antonov An-148 operated by Saratov Airlines - vanished from radar screens shortly after taking off from Moscow. Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov flew to the site. Investigators are looking into several possible reasons, including weather conditions and pilot error, transportation officials said. All 71 people aboard were confirmed dead.

Investigators also conducted a search at the airline's main office in Saratov, reports said.

Putin ordered establishment of a special commission to investigate the crash, and Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said a criminal investigation had been launched. Its hub is Saratov Central Airport in southern Russian Federation.

The jet was heading toward the city of Orsk close to the border with Kazakhstan.

The crash differed from many in Russian Federation in that the aircraft was a relatively new example of a modern design.

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