A Russian passenger plane crashed and burst into flames three minutes after take-off in Siberia today. 31 people are reported dead of the 43 people on board and five survivors are critically injured.

Television footage showed the plane, which had broken in two, lying in a snowy field. Only the tail and rear part of the fuselage were visible.

A Russian spokesman for the Emergency services explained in Russian what had happened.

YURI ALEKHIN, HEAD OF THE TYUMEN REGIONAL BRANCH OF THE RUSSIAN EMERGENCIES MINISTRY,SAYING:"We carried the injured out by hand, so to speak, and then a helicopter took them to a local hospital, The main task now is identification and contacting relatives."

It was not immediately clear what caused the UTair airlines ATR 72 to crash, but this follows another deadly crash in 2011 that saw 44 people killed including a national the ice hockey team.