Russia Plane Crash: KHL Hockey Team Among 36 Killed

A plane leaving Russia crashed on Wednesday, killing at least 36 people including Kontinental Hockey League players on their way to a game.

Sergei Izolsky, an aviation agency spokesperson, told CNN that the plane crashed into an antenna at the airport beacon, before falling, breaking into pieces and catching fire. The issue occurred when the plane failed to reach a flying altitude quickly enough, according to CNN reports.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry representative said three people managed to survive the ordeal, although they are in critical condition, according to CNN reports.

The Yak-42 jet that crashed was carrying one of the most well known hockey teams in Russia,
the Lokomotiv. The team intended to travel from Yaroslavl, a city northeast of Moscow, to the capital of Belarus, Minsk according to New York Times Reports.

The Lokomotiv team includes players from Germany and Sweden. Police are already starting to recover remains of some passengers, according to the Russian news source RIA Novosti.

"Passenger body parts were found in the Volga River, where part of the fuselage fell," a police source said.

Alexander Medvedev, president of the new KHL league, affirmed that the new hockey club would be top quality. However, the first game in the club has since been canceled due to the crash.

"I want to reassure you that we will do everything possible to make sure hockey of the highest level continues in Yaroslavl, and that Lokomotiv remains one of the KHL's strongest clubs," Medvedev said, the RIA Novosti reported.

According to the news source, Russia does not have a great aviation record in terms of safety. Because of that, President Dmitry Medvedev promised the country that soviet-era aircraft would stop flights.

Although it is unclear about who the exact victims were in the crash, former NHL players including Pavol Demitra, Karlis Skrastins, Ruslan Salei, Karel Rachunek and Brad McCrimmon were part of the Lokomotiv roster.