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Russia's transport agency ordered the country's airlines to stop using Tu-154B planes

Russia grounds Tu-154B planes after accident

According to Associated Press, Russia‘s transport agency ordered the country’s airlines to stop using Tu-154B planes until the cause of a passenger jet fire and explosion that killed three people is determined.

A spokesman for the Rostransnadzor agency, Sergei Romanchev, said airlines must obey the order. It was not immediately clear how many of the planes are in service in Russia.

The Tu-154B is one variant of the Tu-154 model, which has been in service since the early 1970s. The fire, which injured 43 people, began as the plane carrying 124 people was taxiing for takeoff at the airport in Surgut, about 1,350 miles east of Moscow. Frightened passengers clawed their way through the smoke-filled cabin and most managed to escape before the explosion.

Investigators have found the plane’s flight recorders and taken fuel samples and documents from the regional airline, Kogalymavia, that used the plane.

The Tu-154, similar to the Boeing 727, has three engines mounted on the rear of the plane. It has been in wide use on Russian internal flights and used extensively in other countries, including Iran and former Soviet republics.

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