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Russian plane crashes, 88 killed
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A passenger plane with 88 people on board crashed in Russia's Ural region and all people aboard were believed to have been killed, Russian news agencies reported Sunday, quoting emergency authorities.

The Chinese embassy in Russia on Sunday confirmed that one Chinese citizen died in the air crash in central Russia's city of Perm.

The Chinese female passenger, Fang Fang, was a native from eastern China's Zhejiang Province and was born on Aug. 30, 1982. Her passport number was G04267136, the airline company Aeroflot told Xinhua.

The Boeing-737 jet went down at about 3:00 a.m. (2300 GMT Saturday) Sunday in a patch of wasteland on the outskirts of the Russian city of Perm in the central Ural mountains, the Itar-Tass news agency said.

"The plane flew from Moscow to Perm at 01:10 Moscow time on Sunday (2110 GMT, Saturday), and in two hours, as it was approaching to land, the communication with it was lost at an altitude of 1,800 meters," Itar-Tass quoted a spokeswoman of the country's emergency ministry.

The plane, operated by Russia's leading Aeroflot airline, was believed to have caught fire and exploded before falling, said the spokeswoman Irina Andrianova.

"The airplane was found within the city's limits in a deserted area" and all passengers as well as crew members were killed, she said.

Media reports says there were 88 people on board the plane when the tragedy occurred, but vary in who are the victims.

Andrianova said a total of 82 passengers, including seven children, and six crew were on board, while Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said there were 82 passengers plus a baby and five crew on board.

The plane disappeared from radar screens between 03:10 and 03:15 Moscow time (2310-2315 GMT, Saturday), said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigations Committee under the Prosecutor General's Office.

According to Markin, the Trans-Siberian Railway was damaged because of the accident.

Rescuers were heading to the scene from air and prosecutors have opened a criminal case over violation of flight safety rules.

The cause of the accident is not immediately known yet.

(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2008)

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