Prime News, International, Moscow, February 12:- Difficult conditions mean the search-and-recovery operation at the snow-packed site of a plane crash outside Moscow that killed all 71 passengers and crew could take a week, Russian authorities say.
“The rescue effort is over. All the 71 people onboard are dead. My sincere condolences to their families and friends,” Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov told reporters on Monday.
The ministry said that just two bodies had been recovered by late on February 11. Some 400 search-and-rescue workers were being sent to the crash site.
It added that one of the flight recorders was recovered, but it was not immediately clear if it was the data or voice recorder.
Puchkov said the search operation was being made difficult “because we have a big area of scattered wreckage, heavy snow, and complicated ground profile,” he said.
The Antonov An-148 operated by Saratov Airlines vanished from radar screens shortly after takeoff on Sunday as it was en route from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport to Orsk in the Urals, officials said.
“Sixty-five passengers and six crew members were on board, and all of them died,” Russia’s Office of Transport Investigations said in a statement.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Putin “offers his profound condolences to those who lost their relatives in the crash.”
-(NGB, Inputs: Agencies)