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Russian Jet Carrying Ice Hockey Team Crashes, Killing 43

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls the crash "a catastrophic loss to the hockey world."

Tunoshina, Russia (AP) -- Russia and its hockey fans have been
stunned by the crash of a jet carrying one of the country's top
teams.

The private jet slammed into a riverbank moments after takeoff,
killing at least 43 people. The weather was sunny and clear at the
time, but Russian media reports say the plane struggled to gain
altitude then hit a signal tower.

Two people on board, one a crew member and the other a player,
survived but are described as being in "grave" condition.

The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from
Yaroslav to Minsk, for the opening game of the Kontinental Hockey
League season. The team finished third in the league last season
and had a number of international stars and former NHL players on
its roster, including Slovakian national team captain Pavol Demitra
and head coach Brad McCrimmon. Emergency officials listed former NHL players Josef Vasicek Karel Rachunek , Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei among the dead, along with Swedish goalie
Stefan Liv.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls the crash "a catastrophic
loss to the hockey world."

More than 2,000 fans gathered outside the team's arena to pay
their respects.


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