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Russians Mourning Plane Crash Victims


Fans of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hold a memorial rally near the stadium in Yaroslavl.

Fans of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hold a memorial rally near the stadium in Yaroslavl.

The Russian city of Yaroslavl begins three days of official mourning today for the victims of an airplane crash that left 43 people dead and killed almost every member of the local ice-hockey team.

The tragedy happened on September 7 when a Russian plane crashed shortly after takeoff at an airport outside the city, some 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow. The only two survivors are in grave condition.

Yaroslavl region Governor Sergei Vakhrukov, speaking at a press conference today, said the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team was "part of [people's] lives."

"Yaroslavl is grieving deeply for the loss of our team. In an endless stream, the fans continue to arrive at the hockey arena, laying flowers," he said. "For us, it wasn't just a hockey team, not just our favorite hockey team. For most citizens of Yaroslavl and the region, it was a part of their lives."

Players and coaches of the team came from at least eight countries, including Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

Investigators examining the flight recorders said they have not been able yet to determine what caused the plane to crash.

President Dmitry Medvedev, visiting the crash site on September 8, criticized Russia's poor record on aviation safety and demanded a thorough probe.

compiled from agency reports
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