Three days of mourning have been declared in the Yaroslavl region of Russia following a plane crash in which was carrying most of the members of the Lokomotiv ice hockey team, including many top international players. According to the Russian government, two passengers out of the 45 on board have survived and are in a critical condition: Alexander Sizov and hockey player Alexander Galimov.
The Russian President, Dimitry Medvedev visited the site of the crash to lay flowers and afterwards held a press conference said:
“This tragedy came as a great shock to the whole country. That is always the case with such accidents but this crash was particularly tragic because the plane was carrying the core members of one of Russia’s and Yaroslavl’s most loved and most successful hockey teams. This is a great loss not only for the players’ families but for the whole nation and for all hockey fans…
“…We have discussed civil aviation safety on many occasions in the past. This is a serious problem for us. At the same time, major decisions have been made: instructions were issued, substantial funds allocated, airfield infrastructure modernised and new technical equipment provided. Nevertheless, the problems persist, and this has been confirmed by a spate of air accidents this year.”
The Yak-42 plane was carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team to Minsk to play against Dinamo Minsk. It crashed on 8th September 2011 at 16:05 Moscow time. An investigation into the cause of the tragedy has been launched.