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Dozens killed in Russian plane crash

• http://english.aljazeera.net/
 

At least 44 people have been killed in a plane crash in northwestern Russia, according to officials.

The RussAir Tupolev 134 was trying to land at its destination of Petrozavodsk airport in the Karelia region in bad weather conditions but failed to make the runway and instead hurtled onto a road two kilometres away.

The 30-year-old plane broke up into fragments and erupted into flames as it made contact with the ground, the Karelia branch of the emergencies ministry said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.

In a catastrophic sequence of events, officials said the plane appeared to have hit a power line as it circled the airport in the bad weather, triggering a power cut which switched off the runway lighting.

Sergei Ivanov, the Russian deputy prime minister, cited pilot error as the most likely cause of the crash.

"From the initial external data the pilot's mistake is clear - in bad weather conditions he veered to the right of the runway and in foggy conditions searched for the runway visually until the last minute (and) did not find it," Ivanov said in France on a visit with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

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