The near-simultaneous crashes of two Russian passenger planes shortly after taking off from the same airport late Tuesday prompted concerns of a possible terrorist attack, perhaps linked to forthcoming elections in Chechnya.
A Tupolev Tu-134 flying from Moscow to Volgograd crashed in the Tula region 90 miles south of Moscow around 11 p.m. local time, killing all 43 passengers and crew aboard, according to the Russian emergency ministry.
At almost exactly the same time, a Tu-154, a larger airliner, went missing on a flight from Moscow to a Black Sea resort. Its wreckage was later found in southern Russia's Rostov region.
The larger aircraft, operated by Siberia Airlines, departed from Moscow's Domodedovo airport 40 minutes before the other plane, a Volga-Avia Express flight, took off from the same location.
In a statement posted on its website, Siberia Airlines confirmed that its flight 1047, carrying 46 passengers and crew, had disappearing from radar screens at about 11 p.m. The wreckage had been located and "according to the available information, all passengers and flight crew members are dead."