Russian plane crashes off runway in Sochi | News | DW | 01.09.2018
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Russian plane crashes off runway in Sochi

After landing at Sochi International Airport, the plane crashed off the runway before catching fire, leaving dozens injured. No passengers were killed, but one of the first responders died of a heart attack at the scene.

At least 18 people were injured when a Russian passenger plane careered off a runway at Sochi International Airport in the early hours of Saturday, Russia's Health Ministry said.

The UTair-operated Boeing 737 from Moscow was carrying 164 passengers and six crew members when it ran off the runway and crashed before catching fire around 3 a.m.

Transportation Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh said airport shift supervisor Vladimir Begiyan, who was one of the first responders to the accident, died of a heart attack at the scene.

The airport said the fire was extinguished within eight minutes and everyone on board was evacuated within 17 minutes.

A Russian UTair airplane in flames after crashing after it landed at Sochi International Airport (Reuters)

The plane caught fire after it veered off the runway and into a riverbed

Cause unknown

The cause of the crash is not yet clear, but Russian state news agency IRA cited emergency services as saying the plane did not brake in time after landing.

The aircraft landed in heavy rain and with a strong tail wind, Russian civil aviation official Oleg Smirnov told state television channel Rossiya24. Footage on the channel showed images of the aircraft with damaged engines and wings.

The Russian flight safety watchdog will conduct an assessment of both the Sochi airport and UTair, Rossiya24 reported.

Russia has experienced a number of plane-related tragedies in recent years. In February, a passenger plane en route to Orsk crashed near the Russian capital Moscow, killing all 71 people on board, and in April a Russian Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed at an air base in Syria, killing all 39 passengers.

law/rc (AP, Reuters)

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