A Russian passenger jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed on Wednesday during takeoff in western Russia, killing 43 people and leaving two critically injured.

The Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after taking off from an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 240 km northeast of Moscow, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Two persons survived the crash with grave injuries.

Reports said the plane failed to climb rapidly enough and hit an airport antenna before falling to the ground and breaking up.

Ice hockey team

The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl to Minsk, Belarus, for the opening game of the season. Lokomotiv is one of Russia's best hockey team, which placed third last year in the championship of the Continental Hockey League (KHL) of former Soviet states.

The crash occurred on the day a Global Political Forum opened in Yaroslavl. President Dmitry Medvedev is to address the forum on Thursday.

This is the fifth air crash in Russia this year, in which more than 100 people died. Another 130 died when a river cruise ship sank in the Volga in July.

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