Russian plane crash probe rules out explosion

Flight recorders revealed no evidence of an explosion on board a Russian plane that crashed, killing all 92 on board, but investigators haven’t ruled out a deliberate mechanical impact to down the plane, a military official said Thursday.


Russian air force Lt.Gen. Sergei Bainetov, who heads the Defense Ministry commission conducting the crash probe, said that a cockpit conversation recorder contained the captain’s words that indicated a “special situation” that began unfolding on board the plane.

Bainetov wouldn’t elaborate on what may have led to the crash, but noted that it likely had been caused by several factors.

The Tu-154 of the Russian Defense Ministry crashed into the sea early Sunday, moments after taking off in good weather from the city of Sochi. It was carrying members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, widely known as the Red Army Choir, to a New Year’s concert at a Russian military base in Syria.

Bainetov said that the plane crashed 70 seconds after takeoff from an altitude of 250 meters (820 feet) while it was traveling at a speed of 360-370 kilometers per hour (224-230 miles per hour).

“After deciphering the first flight recorder we have made a conclusion that there was no explosion on board,” Bainetov said at a news conference.

But asked if that means that investigators have ruled out a terror attack, Bainetov said “we aren’t ruling that version yet.”

“A terror attack doesn’t always involve an explosion,” he said. “Along with an explosion on board, there could have been some mechanical impact.”

He wouldn’t offer any…

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