Monday, November 2, 2009

Russian military plane crashes, 11 members dead

MOSCOW -- A Russian heavy-lift armed forces cargo plane crashed on takeoff Sunday in Siberia, killing all 11 team members on board, officials said.

The air crash was the second accident in less than a month involving an Il-76 , the foundation of the Soviet and Russian air force since the 1970s. These and a string of other accidents have raised concerns about the provision of Russia's aging fleet of Soviet-built aircraft.

The reason of Sunday's crash was not yet known. The four-engine plane had just taken off from Mirny in the Sakha Republic when it banked to the right and was not capable to gain altitude, said Vasily Panchenkov, a spokesman for the internal Troops, which were flying the aircraft.

The plane hit a slag heap from an old mine and crashed, exploding on collision, he said. The plane, which was headed to Irkutsk, was carrying no cargo but its petroleum tanks were full.

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