5 foreign players killed in Russian hockey team crash: official

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Five foreign hockey players including former Swedish Olympic champion Stefan Liv were among 44 people killed Wednesday when a plane carrying members of a Russian team crashed on takeoff, officials said.

The Russian charter flight claimed the lives of Slovakia's Pavol Demitra and the Czech Republic's Josef Vasicek, Jan Marek and Karel Rachunek, Interfax reported. The Swedish embassy had earlier confirmed the death of Liv.

"We got the confirmation a couple of minutes ago from the emergencies ministry. He is among the people who died in the crash" Swedish embassy spokesman Bengt Eriksson told AFP.

The local emergencies ministry said the Yak-42 jet crashed as it took off from Yaroslavl airport some 300 kilometres (185 miles) northeast of Moscow.

It was taking members of Russia's three-time champions to the Belarus capital Minsk for the their first match of the 2011-2012 season.

The team is trained by Canada's Brad McCrimmon, a former assistant coach with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings who was also feared dead.

Only one person was confirmed to have survived the disaster.

A Canadian embassy spokesman said that information about McCrimmon could only be released by the department of foreign affairs in Ottawa.

© 2011 AFP

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