Thirty bodies have been found at the site of a Russian airliner crash in eastern Ukraine, emergencies services said Tuesday, according to RIA Novosti.
A total of 171 adults, 11 crew and 45 children were onboard the three-engine Tu-154 airliner that crashed outside Donetsk close to the Russian border Tuesday afternoon, the Russian emergencies services said.
The plane was en route from the resort of Anapa on the Black Sea in southern Russia to St. Petersburg, Russia`s second biggest city.
"On Tuesday, at 15.39 [local time - 12:39 GMT], a Tu-154 airliner of the [St. Petersburg-based] Pulkovo Airlines ... sent a SOS signal and disappeared from radars," a source in the emergency services said. "Preliminary data suggests that the plane crashed 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of Donetsk."
But a spokesperson for the emergencies services told Russian television channel RTR that the plane gave a SOS signal at 15:37 local time and vanished from the screens two minutes later.
President Putin has been informed about the accident and Russian rescuers are on stand-by to fly to the area.