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2 dead, 40 hurt in Russian jet emergency landing

A passenger jet made an emergency landing at a snowy Moscow airport after its engines failed

AP , Saturday 4 Dec 2010
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A passenger jet carrying at least 155 people made an emergency landing at a snowy Moscow airport after its engines failed, Russian officials said. It skidded off the runway and slammed into buildings, killing two people and injuring around 40.

The plane, a Tu-154 belonging to Dagestan Airlines, was forced to land at Domodedovo Airport, federal aviation agency spokesman Sergei Izvolsky said in televised comments. The cause of the engine failure was unclear, he said.

Officials had said 155 people were on board, but the Emergencies Ministry said in a website statement that the plane was carrying 168 passengers and 8 crew. It was not immediately possible to resolve the discrepancy.

Izvolsky said the plane had taken off from another Moscow hub, Vnukovo Airport, and was en route to Makhachkala, the capital of Russia's southern region of Dagestan. He said the pilot received signals that engines had cut out about 80 kilometers into the flight at an altitude of 9,100 meters (30,000 feet), and requested an emergency landing at Domodedovo, to the southeast of Moscow.

The federal Investigative Committee said in a website statement that two of the three engines had initially cut out, and the third failed as the plane was coming in to land.
"The plane slid off the runway and collided with buildings," the statement said, without explaining what kind of structures.

Passenger Vitaly Chumak was quoted by Russian news agency Interfax as saying the plane broke into three parts after landing and barely missed a fence.
Flagship carrier Aeroflot recently withdrew all of its Tu-154s from service after a series of crashes led to safety fears. But the Tupolev midrange jets, which originally entered service in the 1970s, remain the mainstay of smaller airlines across Russia and the former Soviet Union. It is banned from parts of Europe due to excessive engine noise.

The plane that crashed in heavy fog earlier this year killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski was also a Tu-154.
Domodedovo Airport switched scheduled flights to a second runway, and normal service was not affected, officials said in televised comments.

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