Russian hockey players among 36 killed in jet crash: reports

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A Russian jet carrying hockey players to their first match of the season crashed on takeoff Wednesday, killing 36 people and dealing another blow to the country's safety record.

The Yak-42 passenger jet took off from Yaroslavl airport about 300 kilometres (185 miles) northeast of Moscow just as a two-day political forum expected to be attended by President Dmitry Medvedev opened its doors.

"We believe that there were 37 people on board. 36 of them are presumed dead and one is believed to be injured," emergencies ministry spokeswoman Yelena Smirnykh told Rossiya 24 state television.

The local emergencies ministry said the jet was taking members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team to the Belarus capital Minsk for the their first match of the 2011-2012 season.

The team is trained by a Canadian national and has several foreign players on the roster posted on its website.

© 2011 AFP

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