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Conflict & Tragedy

Former St. Louis Blues Player Dies In Russian Jet Crash

Forty three people have died in a plane crash in western Russia on Wednesday. Two people are currently in critical condition. The Yak-42 plane crashed in sunny weather right after take off from an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River. Yaroslavl is about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.

Former St. Louis Blues hockey player, Pavol Demitra, was among the dead in the crash. Demitra's agent told the St. Louis Blues hockey team about the death of their former player.

The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl to the capital of Belarus, Minsk, to play the opening game of the season against Dinamo Minsk. Both teams are a part of the Kontinental Hockey League. It is not known how many hockey players were on board the plane. What is known that 45 people were on board, that included 37 passengers and 8 crew members. There are two survivors including hockey player Alexander Galimov and a crew member.

A witness says about the crash, "It was wobbling in flight, it was clear that something was wrong," Irinia Pryakhova said about the plane. "It went down behind the trees and there was a bang and a plume of smoke. A rescue team pulled victims from the Volga River, "I saw them pulling bodies to the shore, some still in their seats with seatbelts on."

The Russian hockey team included many top European hockey players and former NHL players, including Pavol Deitra, the Slovakian forward and national team captain who played in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks.