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Some 100 Dead In Ukrainian, Russian Plane Crashes


Kyiv; Moscow; 28 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Officials in Ukraine say negligence may be the cause of Ukrainian fighter plane crashing at an air show yesterday near Lviv that killed 83 people and injured 116 others. Meanwhile, a plane crashed in Moscow today with some 20 people on board. Ukrainian National Security chief Yevgeniy Marchuk said the inquiry commission he leads is looking into several possible causes of the crash. These include negligence by the command of the Ukrainian air force and of its 14th air division, or a technical malfunction.

President Leonid Kuchma dismissed air force chief Viktor Strelnikov and commander of the 14th air division, Sergei Oniszhenko, immediately after the tragedy. Kuchma said technical failure could be responsible, adding that the pilots of the plane were "of the highest class." Ukraine's Defense Minister Volodymyr Schidchenko handed in his resignation in connection with the crash earlier today, AFP reported.

Besides the 83 people killed by the crash, Marchuk said many of the injured are children and are in critical condition.

In Mosocw, one member of the crew from a Russian Il-86 plane that crashed today just after take off from a domestic airport has been found alive.

Officials have confirmed that at least two crew members aboard the plane were killed. Two crew members had been found alive at the crash site but one died soon after. The survivor, a stewardess, is reported to be in critical condition.

Russian officials said there were as many as 20 people aboard the plane. There was no immediate word on other casualties.

The plane belonged to the Pulkovo Airlines Company headquartered in St. Petersburg. It had just taken off from Sheremetovo-1 airport when it crashed near the Dmitrovskoye highway.

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