A private Russian jet carrying a top hockey team slammed into a riverbank moments after takeoff Wednesday, killing at least 43 people, including the team's Canadian coach, in one of the worst plane crashes ever involving a sports team.
The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv team from Yaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where the team was to play Thursday against Dynamo Minsk in the opening game of the season for the Kontinental Hockey League. The ministry said the plane had 45 people on board, including 37 passengers and eight crew.
Czech players Josef Vasicek, Karel Rachunek and Jan Marek, Swedish goalie Stefan Liv, Latvian defenceman Karlis Skrastins and defenceman Ruslan Salei of Belarus were among those killed. Slovakian national team captain Pavol Demitra, who played in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks, was also among the dead, officials said.
NHL defenseman Ruslan Salei (24), who played with the Ducks for the first nine seasons of his 15-year career, was among the 43 people that were killed in a plane crash Wednesday in central Russia.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry confirmed that Salei was on the plane that crashed northeast of Moscow.
Salei’s agent, Mark Gandler, told the Orange County Register that Salei’s brother had spoken on the phone with the former Ducks defenseman at the airport before the team flight departed.
The majority of the victims were members of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team that plays in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The team was leaving the city Yaroslavl for a season-opening KHL game in Minsk, Belarus, which is Salei’s hometown.
With heavy heart I offer my condolences to the family, friends and fans of Ruslan Salei and those in the Lokomotiv organization.
Both the Ducks family and myself have lost a true friend today. The Honda Center will forever be known as the "House that Rusty built".
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's plane has crashed and no players survived. Ruslan Salei was most likely on board...
G Liv Stefan
G Vyukhin Alexander
D Trakhanov Pavel
D Rachunek Karel
D Dietrich Robert
D Salei Ruslan
D Skrastins Karlis
D Balandin Mikhail
D Anikeenko Vitaly
D Kalimulin Marat
D Urychev Yuri
F Galimov Alexander
F Sobchenko Daniil
F Marek Jan
F Tkachenko Ivan
F Vasyunov Alexander
F Churilov Gennady
F Klyukin Nikita
F Kalyanin Alexander
F Ostapchuk Sergei
F Demitra Pavol
F Vasicek Josef
F Kiryukhin Andrei
Rest in peace Rusty and everyone else. Thoughts to your families. There are no words to describe my feelings right now, so I'm not going to try.
That's just sad news. I have been thinking about the possibility of this happening ever since I read Selšnne's blog post about his fear of flying and that their airplane flies no matter what the weather is.