The New York Times gives a dispatch from the rescue:
The closest village was Grabovo, a small coal-mining town whose residents had been among the first to see the plane. Oleg Georgievich, 40, a miner who is also fighting with the insurgency here, said he had heard noises shortly after 4 p.m. and thought the town was being bombed. Aircraft have been flying over daily, he said, and have bombed neighboring villages on a number of occasions.
He heard a sound like a whistle, then walked onto to his balcony on the fifth floor and saw something falling from the sky. He later understood it was part of the plane’s fuselage. Then he saw something strange, things that looked like pieces of cloth coming fast toward the earth. They were bodies, many with their clothing torn off.