MOSCOW – A Boeing 737 operated by a regional airline crashed in gusty weather Sunday evening while attempting to land at the airport in Kazan in central Russia, killing all 50 people on board, authorities said.
The Tatarstan Airlines flight from Moscow was carrying 44 passengers and six crew members when it crashed into the airport tarmac, caught fire and broke apart, according to Sergei Izvolsky, a spokesman for Rosaviatsia, a federal air transportation agency.
The cause was not immediately known. Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the national Investigative Committee, told the Interfax news agency that authorities would look at several possibilities, “including pilot error, technical fault and unfavorable weather conditions.”
Russian television carried video that showed flames engulfing the plane as it sat on the tarmac in the dark, firetrucks drenching it with water cannons. The crash occurred at 7:25 p.m.
Among those killed, according to the federal Emergency Situations Ministry, was Irek Minnikhanov, 24, the son of the president of Russia’s Tatarstan republic, Rustam Minnikhanov. Also reported killed was Alexander Antonov, the regional head of the Federal Security Service, the main successor agency to the Soviet KGB.
Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan.