At least 44 people were killed when a passenger jet crashed in north-west Russia at about 11.40 pm local time on Monday. The plane burst into flames just half a mile from the runway on flight between Moscow and northern city of Petrozavodsk, officials said.

Russian Premier League football referee Vladimir Pettaya and a Swedish national were among those killed in the plane crash.

The passenger jet was carrying 52 people including nine crew members. Eight people are reported to have survived the crash with serious injuries and were taken to hospital.

Although there were no details of the crash available immediately, Interfax news agency quoted the airport director Alexei Kuzmitsky as saying that the plane crashed due to unfavourable weather conditions.

The Russian-made Tu-134 jet was heading towards the city of Petrozavodsk from Moscow. Petrozavodsk is in the province of Karelia, 640km (400 miles) north-west of Moscow.