Rus­sian plane crash-lands; most of 39 on board hurt

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES in Moscow

A Rus­sian mil­i­tary plane crash-landed on Mon­day while ap­proach­ing an Arc­tic air­port, in­jur­ing most of the 39 peo­ple on board, of­fi­cials said.

The Rus­sian De­fense Min­istry said the plane, an Il-18 tur­bo­prop, crash-landed near the town of Tiksi in the Sakha-Yaku­tia re­gion on the Laptev Sea. The plane car­ry­ing 32 pas­sen­gers and a crew of seven was fly­ing from Kansk in east­ern Siberia, around 2,300 kilo­me­ters south­west of Tiksi.

Res­cue he­li­copters evac­u­ated peo­ple from the crash site, and 32 were hos­pi­tal­ized in Tiksi, in­clud­ing 16 in grave con­di­tion, the min­istry said.

An Il-76 mil­i­tary trans­port air­craft equipped with life- sup­port equip­ment flew to Tiksi to bring the in­jured to the main mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals in Moscow for treat­ment, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry.

The plane’s data recorders were re­cov­ered from the site, but the cause of the crash wasn’t im­me­di­ately known.

High winds may have forced the plane to make an emer­gency land­ing, Alexei Kolodeznikov, the deputy head of the re­gional gov­ern­ment, was quoted as say­ing by In­ter­fax news agency.

The De­fense Min­istry said a team of mil­i­tary in­ves­ti­ga­tors were flown to the crash site.

Tiksi, a coastal town of around 5,000 peo­ple in­side the Arc­tic cir­cle, has a Soviet-era mil­i­tary air base that has been ren­o­vated in re­cent years.

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