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Russian Passenger Plane Explodes, Killing 3

In this image taken from Russia 24 television channel TV, showing a tail part of the Russian passenger Tu-154 aircraft seen after an explosion in Surgut, about 2200 kilometers (1,350 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, 01 Jan 2011

Three people were killed Saturday when a Russian passenger jet caught fire and exploded while attempting to take off from an airport in Siberia.

Officials say a fire began in one of the plane's engines as it prepared for takeoff from the city of Surgut, causing the explosion.

Most of the 124 people on board the plane were evacuated before the blast, which destroyed the aircraft. Officials say at least 43 people were injured in the incident.

The Tu-154 plane, which belonged to the regional Kogalymavia airline, had been scheduled to fly from Surgut to Moscow.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.