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Swedish goalie dead in Russia plane crash

Swedish goalie dead in Russia plane crash

Published: 07 Sep 2011 16:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Sep 2011 20:51 GMT+02:00

Swedish national ice hockey team goalie Stefan Liv was among those killed in the crash of a Russian passenger plane that went down on Wednesday carrying members of the Lokomotiv ice hockey team.

The 18-year-old Yak-42 passenger jet took off from Yaroslavl's city airport some 300 kilometres (185 miles) northeast of Moscow.

The plane began listing to the left only seconds into the afternoon flight and crashed about 500 metres away from the Tunoshna airport.

Initial reports said the jet may have hit a local radar antenna and the twisted wreckage of the aircraft lay buried in the Tunoshna River as divers searched for signs of life.

"According to the latest data, there were 45 people on board -- 37 passengers and eight crew. Forty-four people died in the crash and one person survived," a police official told the RIA Novosti news agency.

The local emergencies ministry said the jet was taking members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team to the Belarus capital Minsk to open the 2011-2012 season of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) on Thursday in a match against Dinamo Minsk

Later on Wednesday, the Swedish embassy in Moscow confirmed for the TT news agency that Swedish netminder Liv, 30, was among the victims.

“There were players from Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Germany, Belarus, Latvia and other countries on the team aboard the plane," a source told Interfax, although the bulk of the players were Russian.

KHL President Aleksandr Medvedev said that all of Lokomotiv's players and staff except one unnamed survivor died in a plane crash near the city of Yaroslavl.

Liv, who won Olympic gold for Sweden in 2006, played last season in Russia with HK Sibir Novosibirsk before moving to Yaroslavl Lokomotiv in May 2011.

The three-time Russian champion club was founded in 1959 and last won the country's title in the 2002-2003 season.

The team has a strong national following and recently attracted several younger stars from the NHL.

Before moving to Russia, Liv played for HV71 in the top Swedish professional league, the Elitserien.

Liv was named Eliteserien Rookie of the Year in 2001 and helped the club to three Swedish national titles in 2004, 2008, and 2010. In 2008, he was awarded the league's Guldpucken, given to the league's Player of the Year.

He has been a member of the Swedish national ice hockey team since 2000 and was considered one of the top goaltenders in Sweden over the last decade.

"It's with great dismay that we've received this news. It's so tough...I can't talk about it any more," chair of HV 71 told Aftonbladet.

HV 71 club director Peter Eklund called the crash an "unbelievable tragedy".

"We were clinging to hope but now we find ourselves overwhelmed with grief. It's hard to understand such an incomprehensible tragedy. Our thoughts go out to Stefan's family," he told local news website Jnytt.se.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:59 September 7, 2011 by per1970
R.I.P STefan, and the rest of your team mates, ur missed but not forotten
18:04 September 7, 2011 by Rolle
What a tragedy not only for Tre Kronor but for the whole Hockey world and specially the players family. I'm shocked and extremely sad. Rest in peace...
19:02 September 7, 2011 by jamesblish
Confirmed dead. An entire team of world class players dead. Absolutely devastating news. Tre Kronor 4ever.
20:00 September 7, 2011 by 15U
Big tradegy.Here in Russia hockey players are very popular not only among fans.
22:47 September 7, 2011 by Rick Methven
For over 40 years the Yak42 has been a death trap, an accident waiting to happen, and now it has taken one of our best hockey players. So sad. as a LHC fan, I cursed you many times as you saved so many goals, RIP Stefan you where one of a kind.
22:51 September 7, 2011 by Smokebox
RIP to you all and prays to the families.
23:21 September 8, 2011 by Zender19651
I'm so sorry about Stefan and his team players,too. I'm coming from Czech republic,and we are so sad because of death of K.Rachunek,J.Vasíček and J.Marek.They were our excellent players and we still aren't able to believe it could happen.So terrible tragedy.Please take care of them somewhere outhere, and guys....thank you for all
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