Eyewitnesses in the small village of Argunovo, 80km south-east of Moscow, give horrific accounts of a Russian passenger jet erupting in flames over their village before plunging to the ground killing all 71-people on-board.
The passenger jet operated by Saratov airlines had just taken off from Moscow, vanishing from radar screens just minutes later before crashing into a snow-covered field close to the village of Argunovo, the cause of the crash is not yet clear, but we are reliably told that one of the flight recorders has already been recovered by emergency crews.
Arriving at the scene of the crash emergency crews said it was a site of horrific devastation with bodies and wreckage strewn over the snow-covered field hampering them in their rescue attempts.
What do we know so-far? The passenger plane ‘An-148’ was operated by Saratov airlines, it had just taken off from Moscow, en-route to the city of Orsk, in the Ural Mountains. Just four minutes into the flight traffic controllers report that the plane descended to the ground at an astonishing speed of 1,000m (3,300ft) per minute. Other reports unconfirmed, inform us that the pilot of the plane did, just two minutes into the flight report a malfunction before requesting emergency landing instructions
President Putin has sent a message of sympathy to all the families of both the crew and passengers, he has also launched a full enquiry into the tragedy. MOre on this story as news reaches us
Steve Simmonds Global Breaking News Hub.
Credits and sources: BBC.UK, Flight-tracking site Flightradar24, Russia's gazeta.ru website and our good friends at the Reuters agency for our lead picture.