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Hockey player, crew bodies recovered after Yaroslavl plane crash

© RIA Novosti . Grigoriy Sysoev / Go to the mediabankYak-42 plane crash
Yak-42 plane crash - Sputnik International
Rescue workers on Thursday recovered the bodies of all 43 people killed in a plane crash some 300 kilometers west of Moscow.

Rescue workers on Thursday recovered the bodies of all 43 people killed in a plane crash some 300 kilometers west of Moscow.

The Yak-42 jet was carrying the ice hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on Wednesday. The team was heading to Belarus for the season opener.

The plane plunged into a tributary of the Volga River shortly after taking off from the Russian city of Yaroslavl and burst into flames shortly after 4:00 p.m. local time [12:00 GMT].

Aviation officials said the plane, operated by the domestic Yak-Service airlines, failed to gain altitude and then struck a radio mast.

An emergency official said the recovered bodies were being identified.

"This is the darkest day in the history of our sport," Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, said in a statement on iihf.com.

There were two survivors, Russian player Alexander Galimov and one of the eight crew members on board. Both are in critical condition.

Galimov has burns to 90 percent of his body, a hospital official said.

The cause of the crash is being investigated, with the Russian Transport Ministry suggesting it might have been a technical malfunction or human error.

The ministry's deputy head Valery Okulov said the state aviation agency Rosaviatsia is considering grounding all Yak-42s following the accident.

"Rosaviatsia is carrying out an investigation and considering whether to ban the plane from flying," Okulov told reporters on Thursday.

The Yak-42 involved in the latest crash entered service in 1993 and had a license to fly until October 1 this year.

It had one of its engines replaced during maintenance on August 16, Okulov said.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who was due to address an economic forum in Yaroslavl later on Thursday, said he would change his schedule.

"Dmitry Medvedev will visit the site of the tragedy in honor of the dead and hold meetings with the heads of the Emergencies Ministry, Transport Ministry, Investigative Committee and presidential administration," the Kremlin said on its website.

Natalia Panova, a doctor at a local hospital, said she saw the plane come down and rushed to the wreckage to help search for survivors.

"I was looking out of the window while on shift," she told the Kommersant daily. "Suddenly, I saw a burning plane. I thought it burst into flames right in the air and then fell."

Most of the wreckage and bodies fell into the nearby River Tunoshna, a tributary of the Volga.

The Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from 10 countries, including the team's Canadian coach, Brad McCrimmon, Swedish goalie Stefan Liv and Czech striker Karel Rachunek.

The latest accident comes less than three months after a passenger plane crashed in northwest Russia, killing 44 people.

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