A Russian An-148 regional jet airliner carrying at least 71 people crashed after takeoff from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, with authorities saying everyone on board was killed.
Flight 703 was headed to the city of Orsk near the Russian-Kazakhstani border, but Flightradar24 data shows it “descended rapidly about five minutes into its flight after departing Moscow at 11:22 GMT,” the Journal wrote. It was plummeting at 6,705.60m a minute by the time it lost contact, with state TV reporting that it left a six-foot crater upon impact with the ground.
According to CNN, the cause of the crash remains unknown, and per the BBC, the pilot of the aircraft was experienced with over 5,000 hours of flight time. Authorities have recovered the plane’s black box – though the craft itself disintegrated across a huge area.
“The scatter of fragments of the aircraft and bodies of dead passengers occupies a large territory; the radius is not less than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles),” Investigative Committee of Russia spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko told CNN.
Russia has a mixed track record when it comes to air travel, the Journal noted:
Russia’s top carriers have improved their safety record in recent years, but air-safety problems still plague the country’s second- and third-tier airlines. Sunday’s disaster is the worst in Russia since 2016, when a Defence Ministry aircraft full of soldiers, musicians and journalists crashed into the Black Sea after taking off from Sochi on its way to Syria, killing all 92 on board.
A Russian Airbus A321 also blew up over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula with the loss of all 224 passengers and crew in 2015, though authorities concluded the cause of that crash was terrorism.