BREAKING: Two Russian Airliners Crash
MOSCOW - Two Russian airliners carrying a total of more than 100 people crashed almost simultaneously south of Moscow, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Tuesday. There was no word on survivors.
The first plane was carrying 54 passengers and a crew of eight when it crashed in the Tula region near the village of Buchalki, the agency said, citing a duty officer at the regional center for civil defense and emergencies. The Tula region is about 110 miles south of Moscow.
The second plane was carrying 44 people when it crashed near Rostov, the agency said, citing an Inter-State Aviation Committee official. Rostov is about 600 miles south of Moscow.
Both planes were Tupolev Tu-154 jets, the standard medium-range airliner on domestic flights in Russia, other former Soviet states, Iran and parts of eastern Europe, according to the Web site Airliners.net.
UPDATE at 8/24/04 3:49:17 pm:
This story has been updated; one plane is “missing:” Russian Plane Crashes, Another Said Lost.
MOSCOW - A Russian airliner crashed south of Moscow, and another passenger jet went missing, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Tuesday. There was no word on survivors.
A Tu-134 airliner that apparently had 42 people aboard with crashed in the Tula region, 125 miles south of Moscow, at about 10:56 p.m. Monday, ITAR-Tass reported, citing the Emergency Situations Ministry.
A Tu-154 with 44 preople aboard went missing around the same time near Rostov-on-Don, about 600 miles south of Moscow, but authorities had not found the wreckage in the area they believd it might have gone down, ITAR-Tass said. Earlier, however, it said the plane had also crashed, about three minutes after the first one went down, again citing emergency officials.
Citing an unnamed air traffic official in Moscow, where both planes originated, ITAR-Tass said authorities were not ruling out terrorism. The agency also reported that witness said they saw an explosion before the Tula region crash.
The plane that crashed near Tula was headed to the southern city of Vologograd, while ther plane that disappeared was flying to the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where President Vladimir Putin is vacationing, ITAR-Tass reported.
In Washington, a senior U.S. State Department official said: “We are obviously concerned by the news. We’re following developments closely and trying to determine the facts.”
UPDATE at 8/24/04 3:54:52 pm:
A bomb exploded at a Moscow bus stop, injuring four people, a spokesman for the capital’s Federal Security Service said.
The explosion had a force of about 100 grams of TNT, the security service’s duty officer said, citing preliminary information.
It shattered the glass walls of the bus shelter located on Kashirskoye highway in southern Moscow.
The four injured included a woman who was in grave condition at a Moscow hospital, authorities said.
Kirill Mazurin, spokesman for the Moscow police, said on Russia’s NTV television that authorities were investigating the attack as hooliganism.
NTV reported that terrorism had not been ruled out since the bus stop was located across from a police station and the explosion went off at a time when officers were usually leaving work.
UPDATE at 8/24/04 4:25:51 pm:
MOSCOW, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Witnesses saw an explosion on board a Russian passenger plane just before it crashed late on Tuesday near the town of Tula, Interfax news agency quoted local authorities as saying on Wednesday.