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44 passengers, 6 crew members killed in Russian plane crash: Ministry

This photo provided by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry shows debris at the crash site of the Russian passenger airliner, Boeing 737, near Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan republic, about 720 km, east of Moscow, on Sunday, Nov 17, 2013. T
This photo provided by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry shows debris at the crash site of the Russian passenger airliner, Boeing 737, near Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan republic, about 720 km, east of Moscow, on Sunday, Nov 17, 2013. The plane crashed on Sunday while attempting to land at an airport in western Tatarstan, killing all 50 people on board, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said. -- PHOTO: AP

MOSCOW (AFP) - A Boeing 737 belonging to a domestic Russian airline crashed on Sunday while attempting to land at an airport in western Tatarstan, killing all 50 people on board, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said.

"According to preliminary information, all the people on board the flight, 44 passengers and six crew members, were killed," a ministry spokesman told AFP.

"There were no children among the passengers," she added.

The local branch of the ministry said in an earlier statement that 44 people had died when the jet, arriving from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, crashed on landing in the Volga city of Kazan at 7.25pm.

The Tatarstan Airlines plane "hit the runway and burst into flames", Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Local news agencies reported the plane had tried to land three times before crashing.

Air safety in Russia is a major issue for the authorities following a severe deterioration in the quality of domestic services after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Officials blame most problems on pilot inexperience as well as poor maintenance by the small and poorly regulated airlines that have sprouted up across Russia in the past two decades.

Kazan is the capital city of the Russian republic of Tatarstan.