Russian plane crash kills 44

At least 44 people were killed Monday night when a Russian Tu-134 jet crashed just before landing in the northern city of Petrozavodsk. Eight people survived but were reported to be badly injured, mainly with burns.

The RusAir flight had taken off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport and encountered fog and bad weather as it approached Petrozavodsk, in the northern republic of Karelia. It burst into flames upon landing on a highway one kilometer from the city’s airport. RIA-Novosti said one foreigner, a Swede, was on the plane.

Some initial reports speculated that there may have been problems with runway lighting.

A few years ago I wrote a story about the shoddy state of Russian infrastructure – it’s old, so things may have changed, but back then I cited a 2008 report issued by Renaissance Capital that found that 52 percent of Russia’s airports lacked landing lights, while 41 percent had no paved runways.

LifeNews has photo and video from the crash site.

Russia has a shoddy air safety record, particularly when it comes to domestic flights. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was due to fly to Paris for the Le Bourget air show to support Russian firms showing there.