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Two dead as Russian airliner crash-lands

Two engines failed after takeoff. There were 83 injuries.

MOSCOW - Two engines failed on a Russian passenger jet shortly after takeoff Saturday, and the plane made an emergency landing as its third engine cut out, skidding off the snowy runway and breaking apart, officials said. Two people were killed and 83 injured.

The plane, a Tupolev Tu-154 belonging to Dagestan Airlines, was carrying at least 155 people when it landed at Domodedovo Airport, federal aviation agency spokesman Sergei Izvolsky said.

The cause of the engine failures was unclear, he said, but recent crashes involving the aging Tu-154 aircraft have prompted the Russian carrier Aeroflot to stop using it.

Officials said 155 people were aboard the Dagestan Airlines plane, but the Emergencies Ministry said in a website statement that the aircraft was carrying 168 passengers and eight crew members. It was not immediately possible to resolve the discrepancy.

The plane had taken off from another Moscow hub, Vnukovo Airport, and was en route to Makhachkala, the capital of Russia's southern region of Dagestan, officials said. Izvolsky said the pilot received signals that engines had cut out about 50 miles into the flight at an altitude of 30,000 feet and requested an emergency landing at Domodedovo, to the southeast of Moscow.

The federal Investigative Committee said on its website that two of the three engines had initially cut out and the third failed as the plane was coming in to land.

"The plane slid off the runway and, having hit uneven ground, broke up," the statement said. A previous Investigative Committee statement had said the plane slammed into buildings after touching down.

Passenger Vitaly Chumak was quoted by Russian news agency Interfax as saying the plane broke into three parts after landing and barely missed a fence.