Moscow: At least 29 people, including children, were killed today when a Russian passenger plane with 43 people on board crashed in Siberia, an official said.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry said the death toll in the crash near the Urals city of Tyumen has risen to 29, news agency RIA Novosti reported. A ministry spokesman earlier said that 16 bodies were found at the crash site.
Children are among the victims. The twin-engine ATR-72 plane heading to Surgut crashed 30 kilometers from the city of Tyumen shortly after takeoff.
The aircraft burst into flames and broke into pieces upon impact.
Preliminarily, there were 43 people — 39 passengers and four crew - on board. "Twelve people were injured," the spokesman said, adding they have been flown to a nearby hospital by helicopter.
One person has died in hospital of his injuries, while four people are in critical condition, Russian media reported. Nearly 200 rescuers and 43 specialised vehicles are working at the scene.
A criminal case has been launched into the accident. A plane from Moscow carrying psychologists and rescuers has left for Tyumen.
The Emergencies Ministry has opened a hotline for the relatives of those onboard (8-800-775-17-17), in order to provide information and psychological assistance.
The ATR-72 is a passenger twin-engine turboprop medium-haul airliner. It is designed for the transportation of up to 74 passengers at medium distances and is steered by two pilots.
The ATR 72, a twin-engine, turbo-prop plane, crashed some 30-35 km (18-22 miles) from the western Siberian city of Tyumen, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said.