Medvedev urges removing oldest Tupolev jets

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday recommended taking the Tupolev-134 out of service after 45 people were killed in the latest disaster involving one of the Soviet-made jets.

"I have instructed the ministry (of transportation) to prepare the general, forced removal of Tu-134 from operation," news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying two days after the disaster in northwest Russia.

"If we are talking about regular flights, it might be better that they not fly at all, starting next year," Medvedev added.

Medvedev added that pilot error was "probably" to blame for the disaster.

The RusAir plane was flying from a Moscow airport to Petrozavodsk, the largest city in Karelia, when it crashed onto a highway short of the runway in fog.

The Tu-134 was launched and 1966 and produced until 1984.

Seventy-two of the 852 craft either crashed or suffered other fatal disasters, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

© 2011 AFP

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