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44 dead in Russia plane crash

At least 44 people died Wednesday when a plane carrying an ice hockey team crashed during take-off near Yaroslavl, some 250 km from Moscow, emergencies officials said.

The plane crashed at 4.00 p.m. and burst into flames. Eight members of the crew were among the dead. Two people survived, investigators said.

The Yak-42 plane was carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice-hockey team to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, for the start of the new Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The side is coached by Canadian Brad McCrimmon, a former Detroit Red Wings assistant.

"Passenger body parts were found in the Volga River, where part of the fuselage fell," a police official said.

One of the survivors was player Alexander Galimov. The other was a member of the crew, a club official said. Their condition is not known.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who was due to take part in a political forum in Yaroslavl Thursday, has expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. His press secretary said Medvedev would visit the site of the crash.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, founded in 1949 as the team of the railways ministry, is one of Russia's leading hockey teams.

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