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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

New York Times > 2 Planes Crash Near Moscow; 88 Feared Lost

August 25, 2004
By C. J. CHIVERS

MOSCOW, Wednesday, Aug. 25 - Two Russian passenger jets on domestic flights crashed nearly simultaneously after departing from the same terminal in Moscow on Tuesday night, officials said. At least 88 people were presumed dead.

While precise details surrounding the crashes were unclear, the Russian news service Interfax, citing an anonymous official source, reported that minutes after the first plane went down, the second jet issued a distress signal indicating it had been hijacked. Then it, too, disappeared from radar.

As airport security was tightened throughout Russia, President Vladimir V. Putin, who has been vacationing and working in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, ordered the F.S.B., one of the successor agencies to the K.G.B., to begin immediate investigations into the crashes, a spokesman for the president told the news service.

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