The two survivors of a plane crash that killed virtually the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional hockey team were flown to Moscow on Thursday aboard an emergency ministries plane, RIA Novosti reported.
Forty-three people, including several former NHL players, died in the Wednesday crash of the Soviet-designed Yak-42 aircraft shortly after it took off from the airport in Yaroslavl, some 185 miles northeast of Moscow.
The two survivors were identified as Russian player Alexander Galimov, who suffered burns over 90 percent of his body, and crew member Alexander Sizov.
An emergency ministries spokesman confirmed the plane carrying them had arrived in Moscow, the Russian news agency said.
The cause of the crash has not been determined but the plane’s flight data recorder was found Thursday.
Reports from the scene said the aircraft failed to gain altitude after takeoff and may have hit an antenna on a radio beacon beyond the runway. It crashed in flames on the bank of the Volga River.
The Lokomotiv roster showed players and coaches from 10 countries were aboard, including the team’s Canadian coach, Brad McCrimmon, and former NHL stars Pavol Demitra, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Salei and Karel Rachunek.
Earlier Thursday, the head of the Russian ice hockey league, Vyacheslav Fetisov, said he was hopeful of rebuilding the stricken Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team "in the next two to three days," AFP reported.
Fetisov said that players from around the league were volunteering to participate in the rebirth of the club.
"The new Lokomotiv team will be formed within the next two or three days," Fetisov said. "They will play in the new KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) season. Many of the league’s players said right after the tragedy they were ready to support Lokomotiv and play for Yaroslavl in the new season.
"At least 30 players have already expressed their desire to play there. This says a lot about players’ solidarity and the tremendous traditions of our hockey," AFP quoted him as saying.
League president Alexander Medvedev said the season would likely start Tuesday.