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11 Feb, 2018 20:17

'The whole bed lifted up’: Witnesses speak to RT from the scene of deadly plane crash

Seventy-one people died when a passenger plane crashed just minutes after take off from Moscow Domodedovo Airport. Emergency teams are working in heavy snowfall to access the crash site, RT’s correspondent Murad Gazdiev reports.

The Antonov An-148, operated by Saratov Airlines, took off from Domodedovo for the city of Orsk in the Urals at around 14.21 local time, only to vanish from radar a few minutes later. Police set up a cordon around the crash site some 60 kilometers east of Moscow, stopping all vehicle access, even for locals. Making their way on foot, RT’s crew and senior correspondent Murad Gazdiev got as close as possible to the scene of the crash.

“There are multiple layers of police that have cordoned off the area. When we got here, they let us through but they made us leave our cars by the first checkpoint,” Gazdiev reports. “We’ve arrived at the final checkpoint and they aren’t letting anyone through past here. The crash site itself is perhaps about a kilometer from here.”

“This is because the police have said they don’t want anyone distracting or getting in the way of rescuers that are working here. There’s a huge convoy of ambulances, prosecutors and investigators as well as officials and fire trucks that have just left the scene, about three dozen vehicles.”

The crash was first reported by locals, who heard a loud bang.

“I heard a loud clap. I was lying in bed. The whole bed lifted up and my cats hid. It was really loud,” one woman told RT.

Rescue and emergency teams reached the area of the crash quickly as the roads were relatively clear, but getting close to the debris itself is proving more of a problem.

Sixty-five passengers and six crew members were on board the plane, but rescue workers at the scene told Gazdiev there were “no survivors.”

“It’s difficult to imagine surviving a crash like this with a jet flying at hundreds of kilometers an hour plummeting into the ground. The forces here, the momentum, they all but preclude any survivors,” Gazdiev said, adding that fifty of the bodies have now been recovered.

An investigation has been opened into the cause of the crash, which as yet remains unknown. While the weather is snowy, meteorologists have said it is certainly not unusual for planes to fly in such conditions, and the An-148 itself is relatively new, having only come into service in 2010.

One of the black boxes onboard the flight has been recovered, which should provide investigators with evidence as to what happened.