Child, 4, is sole survivor of plane crash in eastern Russia
An L-410 plane – like the one pictured – crashed in eastern Russia (Picture: Pavel Vank)

A four-year-old is believed to be the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Russian far east in the early hours, Russian news agencies said.

The small passenger jet reportedly went down as it was about to land, with differing reports of how many people were on board.

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Reuters reports six people were killed while local authorities are believed to have told reporters that nine people were on the plane when it crashed – including the child and two cabin crew members.

The child is said to have survived but is in a ‘grave condition’ being treated in hospital.

The disaster happened at around 1.30pm local time – 3.30am in the UK – according to the local office of the Emergencies Ministry, as the flight came in to land at a local airport in the village of Nelkan, around 620 miles from the regional capital of Khabarovsk.

The L-410 twin-engine aircraft had a maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers and was reportedly owned by Khabarovsk Airlines.

Aviation authorities lost contact with the plane when it was about two kilometres from the airport, the ministry said.

Fire and rescue crews and ambulances were dispatched to the site of the crash. The aircraft was damaged by the impact, but did not catch fire after landing in forest.

It is believed to have missed the runway by 1.5 to 2km, a local air traffic control official told Interfax.

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Experts are now looking at three possible causes of the crash, including difficult weather conditions, pilot error or technical issues, the Far Eastern branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee said.

The Ministry of Transport said the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) will also join the investigation.

A representative of Russia’s weather forecast service in the Far East said weather conditions in the village should not have posed any problems.

‘There was no snow, no fog, the visibility was good,’ he told RIA Novosti.

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