A Russian plane carrying a top local hockey team that has former NHL players on its roster crashed in western Russia on Wednesday, killing at least 43 people.
The Russian Yak-42 plane, a mid-sized jet, crashed while taking off from an airport near Yaroslavl, a city about 150 miles north of Moscow, the Associated Press reports, citing the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry.
The plane was carrying 45 people, including eight crew, and only two people survived the crash, the AP reports.
The cause of the crash, which happened in clear, sunny weather, has not yet been confirmed. The plane crashed 1,600 feet from the runway, Russia Today reports.
Members of ice hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl were on board the plane, and were reportedly heading to Minsk, capital of Belarus, to play against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the Kontinental Hockey League season, the AP reports.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is a top team in Russian hockey, and came third in the KHL last year. The team is coached by former NHLer Canadian Brad McCrimmon, and its roster is stocked with top international players including Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Stefan Liv of Sweden and Czech Republic players Josef Vaicek and Jan Marek, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports.
However it is not yet known which players were on board the Yak-42.
In June, a Russian passenger jet operated by RusAir crashed in the northern city of Petrozavodsk, killing 47 people. The crash of the Tu-134 plane has been blamed on pilot error.
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