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Russia Orders Halt To Tu-154B Flights After Fire

Russia's transport oversight agency has ordered the country's airlines to stop using Tu-154B planes until the cause of a passenger jet fire and explosion that killed three people is determined.

A spokesman for the Rostransnadzor agency, Sergei Romanchev, said airlines must obey the order.

It was not immediately clear how many of the planes are in service in Russia.

The Tu-154B is one variant of the Tu-154 model, which has been in service since the early 1970s.

No cause has been determined for the January 1 fire, which also injured 43 people. The blaze began as a TU-154B carrying 124 people was taxiing for takeoff at the airport in Surgut, about 2,100 kilometers east of Moscow.

compiled from local agency reports