In Russia, a plane crashed in heavy fog, killing 44 people.

The Tupolev-134 aircraft, carrying 43 passengers and nine crew, burst into flames on a highway while it was on its final approach to an airport in Petrozavodsk, north-west Russia.

The Emergencies Ministry said the RusAir plane came down on a highway around a mile short of the runway. It broke apart before bursting into flames.

A 10-year-old boy is believe to be one of eight people who are reported to have survived the crash and are in critical condition in hospital in Petrozavodsk.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined, but airport director Alexei Kuzmitsky  has been reported as saying there were "unfavourable weather conditions".

This was compounding by the failure of the runway's high-intensity lighting, Alexei Morozov, deputy head of the Interstate Aviation Committee, told the ITAR-Tass news agency.

The jet was travelling from the Russian capital Moscow 400 miles away.

The Karelia branch of the Emergencies ministry said radio contact with the pilot was lost at 11:40pm local time (7:40pm GMT).

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the crash appeared to be the result of "pilot error in bad weather" and the crew tried to spot the runway visually and simply landed in the wrong place.

Russian air safety has improved over the years, but the safety of Russian-built aircraft remains an issue, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The timing of the crash comes on the eve Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin's planned appearance at the Paris Air Show to support dozens of Russian firms seeking sales contracts.