Plane crash kills ‘majority’ of KHL team Lokomotiv
A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed while taking off Wednesday in western Russia, killing at least 43 people and leaving two critically injured, officials said.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow. It was carrying 45 people, including 37 passengers and eight crew, and the ministry said all but two people were killed in the crash.
The crash occurred right after takeoff for a flight to Minsk, where Lokomotiv had a Kontinental Hockey League game scheduled against Dynamo Minsk on Thursday.
A terrible tragedy in Russia this morning. A Yak-42 charter plane carrying KHL’s Lokomotiv crashed on take off. There were 37 people on board. At this time there are reports of only one survivor. The search and rescue operation is underway.
Witnesses are reporting that the plane was reduced to a pile of charred metal. It is reported that the plane broke off in two and one half fell into water and another one on the ground.
Among the NHL alumni on Lokomotiv’s roster as of Aug. 31: Josef Vasicek, Pavol Demitra(notes), Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei(notes), Karlis Skrastins(notes) and Red Wings goalie prospect Stefan Liv.
Former Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brad McCrimmon was listed as their head coach.
The KHL’s opening day is today, and a Finnish reporter wrote that the game between Salavat Yulaev and Atlas was stopped and then postponed when the news broke. There was a moment of silence in the arena before fans and players left the rink.
UPDATE: Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that «Lokomotiv official tells Sovetsky Sport ‘everyone from the main roster was on the plane plus four players from the youth team.’ Lokomotiv official said the entire team was on the plane because they were traveling for the 1st game of the season, a celebration.»
UPDATE 2: One player from Lokomotiv has survived the crash. Alexander Galimov, a 26-year-old forward who has been with the team since 2004, has been hospitalized with burns to 80-percent of his body.