MOSCOW, FEB. 27 -- An Aeroflot airliner carrying 51 people crashed on a Siberian runway and burst into flames today, killing and injuring passengers, Tass said. Also, a Boeing 727 airliner flying from Turkey crashed in the mountains of northern Cyprus, killing all 15 persons aboard.
The Soviet news agency quoted a local aviation official as saying the Tu134 "fell within the airfield boundaries, broke up and caught fire" at the city of Surgut, an oil and petrochemical center on the Ob River about 1,400 miles east of Moscow.
"Unfortunately, there were victims," Tass said. An earlier report said, "There is loss of life."
Tass said the Tu134 was carrying 45 passengers and six crew members on the last leg of a cross-country trip, but did not specify how many people were killed and injured in the crash, which occurred shortly after 4 a.m. Moscow time.
Tass said the 1,600-mile flight originated in Minsk, the Byelorussian capital, with stops in the Volga basin industrial city of Kuibyshev and Tyumen, a Siberian oil city, before a scheduled final landing in Surgut, a city of more than 150,000 people located in western Siberia.
It was the third reported fatal crash of a commercial jetliner in the Soviet Union this year.
The immediate report of the Soviet crash was linked to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost, or increased openness, in public affairs. In the past, the Soviet Union rarely reported its plane crashes, but Deputy Civil Aviation Minister Ivan Vasin said last fall that Aeroflot would begin publishing reports on its accidents this year.
Officials in Cyprus said the jet that crashed there had just crossed the coastline in its approach to Ercan airport when it slammed into the summit of a mountain in the Kyrenian range. The tail section of the plane fell on the northern, seaward side of the range, and wreckage of the forward section was scattered over a wide area on the southern, landward side.
Rescue workers reported finding seven charred bodies and said there could have been no survivors among the 13 crew members and two passengers. The plane had been flying to Cyprus to pick up tourists for a chartered flight to Finland.