Russia may ground Tu-154 jets after latest accident: report

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Russia's transport authority will recommend the grounding of the workhorse Tu-154 airplane after a jet exploded on a runway, ITAR-TASS reported Sunday, the latest in a string of Tupolev accidents.

Three people died on Saturday and more than 30 were injured when a Tu-154 jet burst into flames before take-off from Russia's Far North city of Surgut.

An aviation source told ITAR-TASS that Transport Minister Igor Levitin will advise the head of the Federal Transport Oversight Agency to ground the planes until the investigation was complete.

"This is what (Federal Transport Oversight Agency) head Gennady Kurvenkov told Transport Minister Igor Levitin at the meeting," the aviation source was quoted as saying.

ITAR-TASS said the recommendation would be communicated to the ministry within hours.

In September, a Tupolev plane carrying 81 people made a "miracle" crash landing at a deserted air strip deep in the Siberian taiga after a complete mid-flight power failure.

© 2011 AFP

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