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Virtual Earth map of Russian plane crash site

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KIEV, Ukraine - A Russian passenger jet carrying 171 people crashed Tuesday in Ukraine and officials said that all aboard are feared dead. A news agency cited Russian officials as saying terrorism had been ruled out.

The Pulkovo airlines Tupolev 154, en route from the Russian Black Sea resort of Anapa to St. Petersburg, disappeared from radar screens over Ukraine about 2:30 p.m., officials said.

Minutes later, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said wreckage from the plane was found on the ground.

The Interfax news agency quoted Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Igor Krol as saying a fire broke out on the plane at 32,800 feet and that the crew decided to try to make an emergency landing. However, it also quoted Russian aviation official Alexander Neradko as saying that the plane might have run into strong turbulence.

Russian Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said she received information that “the plane most likely was hit by lightning.”


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