According to Russian officials, a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team of the KHL crashed just after takeoff in western Russia killing 36 of the 37 passengers aboard. The lone survivor was reported to be critically injured.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 went down at about 4PM Moscow time after taking off from the city of Yaroslavl on the Volga River, 240 kilometres northeast of Moscow. According to other sources the plane had trouble getting altitude after take off and struck a radio tower before going down.
The team was on their way to Minsk, the capital city of Belarus to take on Dynamo Minsk in the opening game of the KHL season.
League president Alexander Medvedev broke the news to the KHL world making the announcement 15 minutes into the first period of the game between Salavat Yulaev and Atlant Moscow. After the announcement made the game was suspended.
Medvedev also released a statement to those affected by the tragedy and offered his support to the club…
“We will do all that we can to ensure that top level hockey continues in Yaroslavl and that Lokomotiv remains one of the strongest clubs in the Kontinental Hockey League,” he said. “We will do all that we can to ensure that top level hockey continues in Yaroslavl and that Lokomotiv remains one of the strongest clubs in the Kontinental Hockey League,” he said.
Preliminary reports say that 36 of the 37 passengers on board had been killed, including the entire roster and 4 youth players, and that the remaining one was in critical condition.
Again there have been no confirmed reports on who exactly was on the plane.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl consisted of various former NHLer’s including Ruslan Salei who spent time last season with the Detroit Red Wings, Pavol Demitra and head coach Brad McCrimmon who recently was an assistant coach with the Red Wings.
Our thoughts go out to the entire KHL community as well as the friends and families affected by this horrible tragedy.
Stay tuned to The Majors Sports Network for more as it develops.
UPDATE: The agent for Pavol Demitra confirmed that Demitra was one of the players that died in the crash.
Source: KHL.ru, TSN.ca