All 71 people aboard a Saratov Airlines flight died when the plane crashed southeast of Moscow on Sunday, Russian state news agency Tass reported.
Those on board included 65 passengers and six crew members, the Russian news agency Interfax said. Three children — ages 5, 13 and 17 — were among the passengers, state news agency RIA reported.
The Antonov-148 aircraft disappeared from the radar shortly after takeoff from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport and crashed soon afterward, Tass reported. It was headed to the Russian city of Orsk, near the border with Kazakhstan.
The plane went down in Ramenskoye District, in the Moscow region, the Russian emergency ministry told CNN.
“The snow is very dense … the Moscow region has had some of its heaviest snowfall in decades,” CNN’s Matthew Chance reported from Moscow. “It’s not clear at this stage whether weather was factor in this crash.”
While the cause of the crash remains uncertain, the Investigative Committee of Russia said officials have launched a criminal investigation.
Some clues may emerge from a flight data recorder, which was found at the site of the crash, the state-run Sputnik news agency reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the creation of a “special commission in connection with the plane crash,” said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to Tass.
“The President also expresses deep condolences to all those who lost relatives and friends in this disaster.”