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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thoughts and prayers on Lokomotiv Hockey team plane crash

MOSCOW - A Russian jet carrying a hockey team crashed Wednesday while taking off in western Russia, killing 36 people and leaving one critically injured, officials said.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 crashed immediately after taking off from an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River, 240 kilometres northeast of Moscow. It said one person survived the crash with grave injuries.

The ministry said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv hockey team from Yaroslavl.

The team was heading to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday against Dynamo Minsk in the opening game of the season of the Kontinental Hockey League. The CHL is a league of several ex-Soviet countries.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has sent his transport minister to the site of the crash, 15 kilometres east of Yaroslavl.

Former NHLers on the team roster include Pavol Demitra and Ruslan Salei, and the coach in Canadian Brad McCrimmon. But it was not immediately known whether they were on board the plane.

Former Montreal Canadien Brent Sopel, who is now playing in Russia, tweeted shortly after the crash: "In shock. Prayers out to all of the KHL families."

McCrimmon, 52, is a native of Saskatchewan. He played defence for six NHL teams — Boston, Philadelphia, Calgary, Detroit, Hartford and Phoenix from 1979-80 to 1996-97.

He played 1,222 regular season games in the NHL, collecting 81 goals, 322 assists and 1,416 penalty minutes.

McCrimmon was an assistant coach with the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Detroit Red Wings. He also served as head coach of the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades.

The short- and medium-range Yak-42 has been in service since 1980 and dozens are still in service with Russian and other airlines.

In June, another Russian passenger jet crashed in the northwestern city of Petrozavodsk, killing 47 people. The crash of that Tu-134 plane has been blamed on pilot error.

President Dmitry Medvedev has announced plans to take aging Soviet-built planes out of service starting next year.

— With files from The Canadian Press.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of this tragedy. Our prayers are out to the families and souls of the players, coaches and officials.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the players, staff, and crew members that perished and extend my hope and best wishes to Alexander Galimov and the crew member that survived the crash for a full recovery.
Very sad day for Russia indeed. My heart goes out to them.

Anonymous said...