Players of elite Lokomotiv hockey club die in Russian plane crash


43 people died when Yak-42 passenger plane crashed in Yaroslavl Region in central Russia today. Two people who survived the crash are in critical condition and are currently in an intensive care. Most of the passengers aboard Yak-42 were the players of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club, who were traveling to Minsk, Belarus for Kontinental Hockey League game with local Dinamo Minsk club, scheduled for Thursday.

There were total of 45 people on board of the plane, including three crew members. Only two people survived the crash – flight attendant Alexander Sizov and hockey player Alexander Galimov.

Yak-42 aircraft belonged to the regional carrier Yak Service. It crashed shortly after a takeoff from Tunoshna regional airport. According to Rosaviatsia (Russian Federal Civil Aviation Department) preliminary report, the plane collided with the antenna of lighthouse, which is located right outside the runway. For the reasons yet unknown, the plane was not able to gain safe altitude after the takeoff, which led to the collision. As a result, the aircraft broke in two parts, one of which fell into the Volga River.

According to the reports, Russian Premier Putin has been notified about the crash and the head of Mintrans (Russian Ministry of Transportation) Igor Levitin traveled to the crash site shortly after the accident. The management of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club has also arrived to the site of the disaster.

Yak-42 Passenger Aircraft Info:

Yak-42 – medium-haul three-engine passenger aircraft, developed in the USSR in the mid-1970s as a replacement for Tu-134. The first flight took place in March 1975. Commercial exploitation of the aircraft has begun on December 22, 1980. The production of Yak-42 ran till 2002 and 188 planes have been produced.

As of September 7, 2011, 9 Yak-42 aircraft have been lost in accidents that have killed 562 people.

Some of the victims killed in the crash:

—Brad McCrimmon, 52, from Canada. A former Detroit Red Wings assistant who became Lokomotiv’s coach in May. Played in 1,222 NHL games between 1979-97, compiling 81 goals and 322 assists.

—Pavol Demitra, 36, from Slovakia. A three-time NHL All-Star who helped Slovakia win a world championship bronze medal in 2003. Scored 304 goals in 847 NHL games. Three-time Olympian.

—Ruslan Salei, 36, from Belarus. A defenseman who played in 917 NHL games, totaling 45 goals and 149 assists for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and Detroit Red Wings.

—Stefan Liv, 30, from Sweden. A veteran goaltender who won Olympic gold with Sweden as a backup in 2006.

—Karlis Skrastins, 37, from Latvia. A defenseman who played in 832 NHL games, mainly for the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche.

—Josef Vasicek, 30, from Czech Republic. A Czech forward who spent most of his NHL career with the Carolina Hurricanes. He was a member of the club’s Stanley Cup championship team in 2006.

—Karel Rachunek, 32, from Czech Republic. Played 371 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, and won a world championship title with the Czech Republic in 2010.

—Igor Korolev, 41, from Russia. Assistant coach following a playing career in the NHL and KHL. In 12 NHL seasons with St. Louis, the Winnipeg-Phoenix franchise, Toronto and Chicago, he scored 119 goals in 795 games. His last NHL season was 2003-04.

—Alexander Vasyunov, 23, from Russia. Had one goal and five points in 18 games last season with the New Jersey Devils, his only NHL experience.