Russia grounds Tu-154B Planes following accident
Airlines in Russia have been ordered to suspend the use of Tu-154B planes following an accident in Siberia on Saturday which cost the lives of three passengers.
The plane was carrying 124 people as it burst into flames before take-off from Surgut. A further 43 people were injured during the accident.
Pictured: 14 Tu-154B aircraft are still in operation in Russia
Data recorders from the plane have been recovered, with authorities seeking to establish what caused the explosion.
Russia’s aviation safety authority stated the ban on operation of the aircraft would remain in effect until the investigation had been completed.
The Tu-154B is one version of the Tu-154 and dates from the Soviet era.
The aircraft is used extensively on domestic air routes in Russia and the former Soviet Union, while airlines in Iran also presently operate the TU-154B
At present there are 14 Tu-154Bs still in service in Russia, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Originally entering service in the 1970s, the Tu-154 has a chequered history with a series of crashes prompting concerns over safety.
Russia’s national carrier, Aeroflot, took all its remaining 23 Tu-154 aircraft out of service in January 2010.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski was killed last year when a Polish Airforce Tu-154 crashed in western Russia.