Russian airliner crashes in Arctic; survivors reported
August 29, 1996
Web posted at: 9:40 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT)
OSLO, Norway (CNN) -- A Russian airliner carrying
143 people crashed Thursday into a remote mountainside on a
Norwegian Arctic island. The Russian news agency Interfax reports
five survivors have been found. Earlier reports had said there were no signs
"We have found dead people," said Rune Hansen, the
deputy governor of the island of Spitsbergen.
Finn Hansen, a rescue operation spokesman, told CNN, "What
has happened we don't know, but we have located the
The Vnukovo Airlines Tupolev 154 was en route from Moscow
when it struck the side of the mountain six miles from its
destination -- Spitsbergen Island's main airport. The region is about
400 miles north of the Norwegian border.
The first rescue crews arrived about 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) and
reported that wreckage of the three-engine plane was spread
across the top of the mountain. Part of the fuselage had slid
down the mountain's side .
The massive search and rescue efforts are being hampered by
the remote location of the crash, Finn Hansen said. He
described the terrain as extremely rugged with few roads.
Rescue personnel were being sent to the region by helicopter. (288K AIFF or WAV sound)
The plane was carrying 129 passengers and 14 crew members. It
was to arrive about 10:20 a.m. (0820 GMT) but flight
officials lost contact with the plane about five minutes
before its scheduled arrival.
Wreckage was spotted about an hour and a half later. The
Norwegian news agency NTB said no emergency signal had been
received from the plane.
The plane belonged to the relatively unknown Russian carrier
Vnukovo Airlines. The plane was said to be carrying Russian
workers to a coal mine in the area.
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