Russian passenger jet crashes near Moscow airport; 14 killed

Monday, July 29, 2002

MOSCOW -- A Russian Il-86 passenger jet dove and crashed into a forest just after taking off Sunday afternoon from Moscow, killing 14 people and spreading charred debris beyond the runway. Two flight attendants sitting in the back of the plane were the only survivors.

The crash happened so fast that the pilots of the Pulkovo airlines jet didn't have time to give flight controllers any indication there was a problem after lifting off from Sheremetyevo-1 airport, aviation officials said.

The plane hit the ground with such force that its front section was unrecognizable amid the blackened wreckage except for a wall of fuselage with the outlines of windows.

Work to find and identify bodies was going slowly because of the scale of the destruction.

It was the second crash of a Soviet-era plane in as many days.

On Saturday, a Su-27 fighter jet performing at an air show in western Ukraine clipped the ground and sliced through a crowd of spectators -- killing at least 83 in one the world's deadliest air show accidents.

Maxim Khmelov, 13, was at a nearby beach with a friend trying to cool off on the clear, sunny day when he saw the Il-86 nose down and then bank before hitting the ground.

He said a plume of smoke went up "like a mushroom cloud."

Smoke continued to rise from the wreckage, lying in a ditch among birch trees and bushes, long after the flames were out.

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