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Russian Plane Accident: Death Toll Rises, Authorities Search for Cause

Photo Courtesy - STR/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian authorities are trying to figure out what caused the engines to fail on a passenger jet Saturday, causing it to make an emergency landing. Three people were killed and more than 80 were injured when the plane skidded off the runway.

Trouble began just 30 minutes into the flight, when two of the plane's engines failed and the crew requested an emergency landing at the nearest airport. As the plane approached the runway, a third engine failed, the plane skidded off the runway and broke into three pieces.

The type of plane involved -- a Tupolev-154, or Tu-154 -- does not have a clean safety record. Even Russia's national carrier stopped using it after a series of crashes.

“The number of accidents in Russia have risen and fallen over time but Russia is in the process of rebuilding their civil aviation system, and it's a long process,” said ABC News aviation consultant John Nance.

The Dagestan Airline plane was headed from Moscow to Makhachkala.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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