MOSCOW—At least two Armenians were among the 71 victims in the Saratov Airlines Flight 703 crash on Sunday near Moscow.
The aircraft’s copilot, Sergey Arsenovich Ghambaryan, and a passenger named Varsik Sevoyan were aboard the Antonov An-148 jet that crashed soon after takeoff from Moscow.
A total of 65 passengers—including three children age 5, 13, and 17—and six crew members died in the crash, Russian state news agency RIA reported.
The aircraft was headed to the Russian city of Orsk, near the Kazakhstan border. It disappeared from radar soon after takeoff from the Domodedovo Airport in Moscow and went down in the Ramenskoye District.
The cause of the plane crash is still unclear, and the Investigative Committee of Russia announced that it has launched a criminal investigation and is exploring all possible causes.
Crash victim Varsik Sevoyan, 47, was reportedly returning to Orsk after visiting her 24-year-old son in Krasnodar and 22-year-old daughter in St. Petersburg.
“Our planes departed almost simultaneously. My plane to Krasnodar left the airport a little later than her flight to Orsk. I landed safely, but she did not. My father was to meet her in Orsk. But we found out about the tragedy from the news,” her son Aram told local reporters.
Sevoyan is originally from the Zolaqar village of the Gegharkunik province of Armenia. According to reports, Sevoyan and her husband had been living in the Russian city of Orsk since 1997.
Armenian President Serge Sarkisian sent a message of condolence to Russian President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation shortly after the news of the Saratov Airlines plane crash.
“Armenia is shocked by this tragedy. Offering our sincere sympathy, we share in the grief of all those who lost their family members, close relatives, and friends. Please accept most profound condolences on behalf of the people of Armenia and myself,” Sarkisian’s message read.
A White House statement also said the U.S was deeply saddened by the tragic deaths. “We send our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and to the people of Russia,” the statement issued on Sunday said.