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27 May, 2008 00:29

Nine dead in Russian plane crash

All nine crew members have died after a Russian cargo plane crashed in the Ural region of Chelyabinsk. The Antonov An-12 plane belonging to the ‘Moskovia’ airline was flying from the city of Chelyabinsk to Perm. During the emergency the plane hit a power

Authorities say a short circuit in the plane's wiring could be the cause.

It happened not far from Chelyabinsk airport at about 18.15 Moscow time.

According to an Emergencies Ministry spokesperson, the captain contacted air traffic control and reported smoke in the cabin just ten minutes after take-off. That prompted the crew’s decision to return to the airport for an emergency landing. But on approach, the plane crashed into a forest.

Emergency services and crash investigators are working at the scene. There were no casualties on the ground.

One of the two flight recorders has been recovered.

Meanwhile, a former pilot who used to fly an An-12, Nikolay Baranov, says that the aircraft is “extremely safe”.

“The engines are good and so is the airframe,” he said. “It has been in operation for 50 years – that says a lot in itself. Now it’s not used that much – but that's only because it’s coming to the end of its service life.”