A chartered Russian jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Tunoshna, Russia, on Wednesday, killing most of the members of the elite Russian hockey team Lokomotiv. The flight was on its way to Minsk, Belarus, for the opening game of the team’s hockey season. Reportedly among the dead are Lokomotiv head coach Brad McCrimmon, an NHL veteran, former NHL all-star Pavol Demetra, Swedish gold-medal winning goalie Stefan Liv, and current Dallas Stars defenseman Karlis Skrastins.
The reaction among current and former NHL players was one of shock and great sadness. The loss comes on the heels of the deaths of three current and former NHL players over the off season.
The Yakolev Yak-42 is a three-engine airliner capable of carrying approximately 100 in a typical two-class configuration. Developed in the mid-1970s, the airplane is similar in configuration and performance to the Boeing 727. Over its production life, the airplane was continuously updated. The most recent models feature avionics manufactured by Western companies and even autothrottles. The Yak-42 is operated almost exclusively in nations of the former Soviet Union and its former close allies. It has a checkered safety history. Out of fewer than 200 aircraft produced, the Yak-42 has suffered nine accidents resulting in more than 500 deaths.