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  Saturday, September 21, 2019
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A passenger plane en route from Moscow crashed outside the Urals
A passenger plane en route from Moscow crashed outside the Urals city of Perm early on Sunday killing all 88 people on board including seven children and 21 foreign nationals.

The Boeing-737-500 owned by Russian flagship airline Aeroflot crashed in an unpopulated area at 3:15 a.m. (23:15 GMT Saturday) with 83 passengers and five crew on board.

Aeroflot said the passengers on Flight 821 included seven children, and "foreign citizens including nine from Azerbaijan, five from Ukraine, and one from each of France, Switzerland, Latvia, the United States, Germany, Turkey and Italy."

Investigator Vladimir Markin told RIA Novosti the plane crashed into a ravine, and that part of the trans-Siberian rail line between Perm and Yekaterinburg was damaged. He said technical failure was the most likely cause of the crash.

Russian Transportation Minister Igor Levitin, who is heading a government commission investigating the catastrophe, told RIA Novosti that the plane's black boxes had been handed over to experts.

"The flight data recorders have been found, and handed over to the Interstate Aviation Committee [of 12 ex-Soviet states], which will decode it," he said.

News channel Vesti-24 has shown footage of the plane wreckage strewn over a large wooded area.

An eyewitness described to the channel how the plane had caught fire while still airborne and had hurtled downwards "like a falling comet."

Aeroflot pledged in a statement to pay bereaved families up to 2 million rubles ($80,000) in compensation per victim. The airline said the plane had been on lease to the Dublin-based company Pinewatch Limited.

The Perm Territory will hold a day of mourning for the crash victims on Monday, a spokesman for the regional administration told RIA Novosti.

The administration also said the crash victims included Col. Gen. Gennady Troshev, 61, a former commander of the North Caucasus Military District, including Chechnya.

The disaster is the worst since Pulkovo Flight 612, which crashed in eastern Ukraine on August 22, 2006 en route from the Black Sea to St. Petersburg, killing all 160 passengers and 10 crew.


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