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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Criminal Inquiry Opened Into Vnukovo Plane Crash

Channel OneEmergency workers inspecting the site of the plane crash on Tuesday.
Officials on Wednesday opened a criminal investigation into the crash of a jet at Vnukovo International Airport, which left two of the plane's three crew members in comas.

The Canadair Special Edition crashed at around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday after an engine caught fire as it took off in a snowstorm en route to Berlin.

The Prosecutor General's Office said a criminal investigation had been opened into the crash, a routine practice after such accidents.

A prosecutor, Alexander Badenkov, said investigators had located the plane's in-flight recorder.

The Transportation Ministry said the plane was owned by Wells Fargo Bank Nord West Trustee of Salt Lake City, Utah. But Wells Fargo is based in San Francisco, and a Moscow-based company, Fort Aero, said it owned the plane.

Russian authorities identified the plane as a Challenger 850, made by Canada-based Bombardier. Bombardier, however, said it was a Canadair Special Edition -- a predecessor of the Challenger 850. Bombardier spokeswoman Sylivie Gauthier said the manufacturer had had no problems with the aircraft, which she said was put into service in 1997.

The three-man crew included one U.S. citizen, pilot Ashin Gazvami, and two Russians: co-pilot Konstantin Sannikov and technical engineer Vyacheslav Lazarevich.

Badenkov said the American was in a coma, as was one of the Russians. The third crew member suffered less serious injuries.

(MT, AP)