One killed as Russian jet explodes


A Russian jet caught fire and exploded at a Siberian airport, killing one person

A Russian passenger jet carrying 128 people caught fire and later exploded at a Siberian airport – killing one person and injuring 10, officials have said.

The rest of the passengers and crew were safely evacuated before the explosion in the Western Siberian oil town of Surgut.

Emergency services spokesman Vadim Grebennikov said the fire, which began in one of the engines as the plane taxied for take-off, caused a powerful blast that destroyed the Tu-154 aircraft and spread flames across an area of 100m sq (1,100ft sq).

The plane, which belonged to the regional Kogalymavia airline, was flying from Surgut to Moscow.

The Tu-154 has been the workhorse of the Soviet and post-Soviet civilian aviation industry, first entering service in the 1970s. But after a series of crashes involving the ageing fleet raised safety concerns, flagship carrier Aeroflot withdrew all of its Tu-154s from service, with the last flight a year ago.

The midrange jet remains, however, the mainstay of smaller airlines across Russia and the former Soviet Union. It is banned from parts of Europe due to excessive engine noise.

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