Grieving Relatives Arrive to Identify Siberia Plane Crash Victims

Grieving relatives of the 145 victims of Russia's worst air disaster in decades have begun arriving in the southern Siberian town of Irkutsk, ITAR-TASS reported Thursday.

A first charter flight carrying 120 parents of the victims flew in from Yekaterinburg in the Ural mountains, from whence the ill-fated Tupolev TU-154 took off on Tuesday.

The crash plane had been carrying 136 passengers, including six children aged from three to nine and 12 Chinese, as well as nine crew.

The family members were taken to hotels in Irkutsk, where the TU-154 had been attempting to land before it crashed, several miles (kilometres) away, for reasons as yet unknown.

Medical and psychological help will be provided to the bereaved relatives.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared Thursday a national day of mourning.

( 07/05/2001)

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