Authorities lost contact with the Saratov flight minutes after take off, but reports suggest an explosion was the cause of the tragedy.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on February 12, 2018

A Saratov Airlines jet carrying 65 passengers and six crew members crashed minutes after taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, killing everyone on board.

The cause of the tragedy is unknown, with investigators leaning towards weather conditions, human error and technical failure, rather than a terror attack.

One witness, has reportedly claimed that there was an “explosion” while the plane was still in the air.

This is backed up by local reports that suggest Russia’s Investigative Committee is looking into whether one of the engines blew up.

Several minutes after lift-off at 2.27pm (local time) on Sunday, en route to the city of Orsk in the Ural mountains, authorities lost contact with the jet.

It was then tracked by Flightradar24 diving at 3,300 feet per minute, and eye witnesses said the plane was on fire as it plummeted into the snow.

According to BBC, bodies and wreckage have been spread over a vast area near the village of Argunovo, about 80km south-east of Moscow, and a flight recorder has been located.

More than 150 emergency workers have been deployed to the site but the extreme conditions of the Russian winter is making recovery efforts difficult.

The Russian-made plane involved was reportedly seven years old and bought by Saratov Airlines from another Russian airline a year ago.

President Vladimir Putin has offered his condolences to the loved ones of those involved.