43 athletes die in Russian plane crash
A Russian plane carrying the top ranked Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice-hockey team crashed yesterday killing 43 passengers.
Fans and players of ice hockey from around the world pay tribute to the team that perished yesterday. The Soviet-designed Yak-42 passenger plane burst into flames and crashed into a riverbank shortly after takeoff outside the city of Yaroslavl, 250km north of Moscow.
The team was heading to the Belarusian capital of Minsk to play a match on Thursday evening. Among those who died were several crewmembers, 34 members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and two members of the coaching staff.
Players from the team came far and wide to play for them. Among those who died were German, Swedish and Slovakian players as well as Canada’s Brad McCrimmon, the team’s coach.
Doctors are currently fighting to save the lives of two survivors – Alexander Sizov, a crewmember on the plane and Alexander Galimov who plays for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Russia’s national team. However, reports suggest Galimov has suffered terrible burns to around 80 per cent of his body while Sizov remains in a critical condition in hospital.
As ice hockey is such a popular sport in Russia, many are comparing it to the 1958 Munich disaster that killed eight members of Manchester United. Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, offered his “deepest condolences to the loved ones of the Yaroslavl air crash victims, and to all Lokomotiv Yaroslavl fans”.