Russians search for crashed plane's recorders

YAROSLAVL, Russia

Forty-three of 45 people on board were killed when the plane failed to gain altitude after takeoff and crashed near the Volga River. Investigators are searching for the flight recorders.

The Wednesday crash killed 36 players, coaches and staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. The Yak-42 jet was carrying the hockey team to its opening game in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Former Los Angeles Kings' forward Pavol Demitra and former Anaheim Ducks player Ruslan Salei were killed in the crash.

The crash drew new attention to the poor safety air records of Russia and some other former Soviet republics.

Experts blame the age of the aircraft, weak government controls, poor pilot training and a cost-cutting mentality.

The crashed jet was built in 1993 and one of its three engines was replaced a month ago, Deputy Transport Minister Valery Okulov told Russian media on Thursday.

It is unclear whether technical failure played a role in the crash, but the plane apparently struggled to gain altitude and then hit a signal tower before breaking apart along the Volga River.

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