Russian Airliner Crashes; Second Missing
August 24, 2004
By KOMO Staff & News Services
MOSCOW - A Russian airliner crashed south of Moscow, and another passenger jet went missing about the same time after both took off from Moscow, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Tuesday. There was no word on survivors.
Authorities were not ruling out terrorism, the agency said.
A Tu-134 airliner that apparently had 42 people aboard 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 people aboard went missing about the same time near Rostov-on-Don, about 600 miles south of Moscow, but authorities had not found the wreckage, ITAR-Tass said.
Earlier, however, the agency said emergency officials reported that the second plane crashed about three minutes after the first one.
Quoting 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 witnesses 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 the 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."