‘No survivors’ among 71 aboard jet that crashed outside Moscow, officials say

An ambulance van drives to the scene of a AN-148 plane crash in Stepanovskoye village, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Domodedovo airport, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Russia's Emergencies Ministry says a passenger plane has crashed near Moscow and fragments of it have been found. Russian officials say all passengers aboard the airliner that has crashed outside Moscow are believed to have been residents of the region that was the plane's destination. No survivors have been reported. (AP Photo/Nikolay Koreshkov)

(ABC News) –There appear to be ‘no survivors’ among the 71 aboard a Russian jet that crashed shortly after taking off from Moscow, the Russian transport minister said.

“Judging by everything, at the moment there are no survivors of this air disaster,” Minister Maksim Sokolov said of the crash Sunday afternoon local time outside Moscow.

DNA analysis will likely be needed to identify the dead, Sokolov said. “The quality of biomaterials [at the crash site] is such that genetic analysis will have to be done. We will have to collect biological material from relatives.”

Two bodies had been recovered from the wreckage by Sunday evening local time, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry reported. About 400 rescue workers have been mobilized to go to the crash site, where the search is expected to continue throughout the night.

Th Saratov Airlines jet, with 65 passengers and six crew, disappeared from radar around around 2:21 p.m. Moscow time, five to six minutes after taking off from Domodedovo Airport in Moscow. It was on route to Orsk in the Orenburg Region about 1,000 miles away when it crashed, Elena Voronova, a spokeswoman for the airlines, told ABC News.

Video showed the wreckage of the Saratov Airlines flight strewn across a snow-covered field, about 50 miles southeast of Moscow.

The plane was a 7-year-old Antonov An-148 regional jet, a high-wing aircraft with twin turbo engines.

“The crew and passengers had no chance to survive,” the emergency services source said.

An emergency ministry spokesman told the TASS state news service that the crash occurred near the village of Stepanovskoye.

Russian police are looking at whether criminal negligence could have led to the crash, which suggests the cause is not assumed to be terror-related.

A spokeswoman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, which handles serious crimes, told Russian news agencies that it is opening a criminal case to look into possible violations of transport safety regulations or careless behavior resulting in deaths.

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