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Russia halts Tu-154B flights after explosion

January 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Russia ordered the country's airlines to stop using Tu-154B planes until the cause of a fatal jet fire is determined.Russia's transport oversight agency said airlines must obey the order. The state news agency RIA Novosti said there are 14 Tu-154Bs in service in Russia.

Investigators hope the black boxes will provide some clues into the cause of a fire and explosion aboard a Russian passenger plane.

Three people were killed and 43 others were hurt as a result of the explosion on Saturday.

Video captured on a mobile phone shows the center of the plane on fire.

The plane was taxiing down a runway in Siberia when flames broke out in an engine, filling the cabin with smoke.

Most of those on board escaped before the explosion.

The Tu-154, similar to the Boeing 727, has three engines mounted on the rear of the plane. The mid-range plane is noted for its ability to operate on gravel and unpaved airfields. However, noise regulations eventually stopped Tu-154s from flying to most of Europe. Russian flag carrier Aeroflot took the plane out of service in December 2009.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.