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Plane carrying 43 crashes in Siberia

MOSCOW - A passenger plane carrying 43 people crashed in Siberia shortly after taking off Monday morning, and Russian emergency officials said at least 16 were confirmed dead but at least 12 survived.

The ATR-72 turboprop, operated by UTair, was flying from Tyumen to the oil town of Surgut with 39 passengers and four crew.

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The aircraft went down outside Tyumen, a major regional center in Siberia. It crashed while trying to make an emergency landing, UTair said on its website. The cause of the crash was not yet clear.

Irina Andrianova, an Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman, said the 12 survivors were being flown to a hospital by helicopter.

The ATR is made by Avions de Transport Regional, a venture between Airbus-maker European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. and Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA. The crash was the first in Russia of a non-Soviet plane since September 2008, data from Aviation Safety Network indicated.

The state RIA-Novosti news agency, citing rescue workers, said 17 people had survived the crash.

Russia has seen a string of crashes in recent years. Some have been blamed on the use of aging Soviet-era aircraft, but industry experts point to a number of other problems, including poor crew training, crumbling airports, lax government controls, and widespread neglect of safety in the pursuit of profits.

A Soviet-era Yakovlev 42 carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team crashed in September, on the opening day of the Kontinental Hockey League’s season, killing 44 people.

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