A view shows the site of a plane crash near the airport outside the northern Russian city of Petrozavodsk June 21, 2011. At least 44 people were killed and eight injured when a passenger plane broke up and caught fire on coming into land in fog in north-western Russia, an Emergency Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday. (REUTERS/Ho New)

Within view of the runway at Besovets airport in northern Russia, a passenger jet crashed to the ground, killing 44 of the 52 people on board. The RusAir jet, which took off from Moscow at 22:30 local time (18:30 GMT) on Monday was due to arrive in Petrozavodsk, the capital of Russia's northwestern republic of Karelia, at 00:04 on Tuesday (20:04 GMT Monday), but crash landed on a highway one kilometer (0.6 miles) away from the airport, which was shrouded in fog. The aircraft broke up and burst into flames on impact.

Seven passengers and one member of the nine-person crew - a flight attendant - survived. One woman survived together with her 9-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter, according to a list of hospitalized passengers published by the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

The plane crashed into a highway outside of Petrozavodsk in a thick fog. It was unclear whether the pilot was trying to land on the road or had missed the runway.

The Tupolove-134 belonged to RusAir, a domestic carrier, and the crash Monday night was the latest in a string of air disasters in Russia that experts blame on aging jets, poor pilot training and a lax government oversight.

The crash coincided with a visit to the Paris Air Show by senior Russian officials including Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who are promoting Russian aviation companies. A deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov, told reporters at the air show that it appeared the pilots were to blame in Monday's crash.

From the initial external data, the pilot's mistake is clear - in bad weather conditions he veered to the right of the runway and in foggy conditions searched for the runway visually until the last minute (and) did not find it, Ivanov said in France. Mr. Ivanov added that the government had no plans to ground the Russian fleet of Tu-134 airplanes.

The circumstances just before the fatal crash are being investigated and the plane's flight data recorders have been found, officials said.

The Russian aviation industry is replacing Tupolevs with a new regional and business plane called the Superjet, which came into service this year and had its maiden flight with Aeroflot, the Russian national flag carrier, just last week.

View a cell phone video of the scene just after the crash: