43 dead after hockey team plane crash

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43 dead after hockey team plane crash

From Comcast SportsNet Wednesday, September 7, 2011
TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP)A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashedwhile taking off Wednesday in western Russia, killing at least 43 people andleaving two critically injured, officials said.The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashedimmediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the VolgaRiver about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow. It was carrying 45people, including 37 passengers and eight crew, and the ministry said all buttwo people were killed in the crash. The weather was sunny and clear at the time.Prime Minister Vladimir Putin immediately sent the nations transportminister to the site, 10 miles (15 kilometers) east of Yaroslavl.The ministry said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team fromYaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursdayagainst Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season in the Kontinental HockeyLeague.The KHL is an international club league that pits together teams fromRussia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Slovakia.Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is a leading force in Russian hockey and came third inthe KHL last year. Its coached by Canadian Brad McCrimmon and includes severalinternational stars in its ranks, such as Stefan Liv of Sweden and CzechRepublic players Josef Vaicek and Jan Marek. Lokomotiv was a three-time RussianLeague champion in 1997, 2002 and 2003 and took the bronze last season.It wasnt immediately clear which players were on board the Yak-42 onWednesday.We will do our best to ensure that hockey in Yaroslavl does not die, andthat it continues to live for the people that were on that plane, said RussianIce Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretyak.The short- and medium-range Yak-42 has been in service since 1980 and dozensare still in service with Russian and other airlines.President Dmitry Medvedev has announced plans to take aging Soviet-builtplanes out of service starting next year.In June, another Russian passenger jet crashed in the northwestern city ofPetrozavodsk, killing 47 people. The crash of that Tu-134 plane has been blamedon pilot error.

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