Tu-154 plane passengers killed by technical malfunction
The Russian government's investigation committee held a press briefing today to discuss the progress of the Tu-154 crash probe. Final conclusions on this tragedy will be made after all the data will be collected and exterminated, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov said at the press conference.
"It has been established that the plane almost completely fell apart after it hit the water surface and the sea shore, which has naturally complicated the search operation," Sputnik cited him as saying.
During the search operation over 2,000 fragments of the plane and 19 bodies and 230 body parts were found. The crash site was completely exterminated. "We've completed the main phase of the search operation, but the rescue operation continues," Sokolov said. "Today the primary objective is to identify victims. The DNA tests are already underway," Sokolov said.
The transport minister asked journalists to abstain from publishing an information from unconfirmed sources until the investigation is completely over. "The final conclusions on the causes of the tragedy will be made only after decoding of flight recorders, as well as of the main data storage device and cockpit voice recorder. Despite the fact that today we already have information that got leaked into the press, the final conclusions, of course, should be done after thorough analysis and conducting all necessary examinations," Sokolov told reporters.
Russian Air Force's deputy head of flight safety, Sergey Bainetov, said that the crew of the crashed Russian military Tu-154 plane that came down last week was flight-ready and skilled enough for the job. "There was no explosion on board the Tu-154 aircraft, though a version of a terror attack is not ruled out yet. We have have concluded that there was no attack, well at least there was no explosion on the board. Though this version of a terror attack is not ruled out," Bainetov said.
The conference was also attended by the Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov, the First Deputy Health Minister Igor Ghahramanyan, the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Alexander Chupriyan, the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection Georgy Lekarev and the head of the Federal Service for Labour and Employment Vsevolod Vukolov.
A Russian Defense Ministry Tu-154 plane bound for Syria crashed in the early morning hours of December 25 shortly after taking off from the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. There were 92 people on board the aircraft, including eight crew members and 84 passengers. Among them were journalists, servicemen and musicians from the world-renowned Alexandrov ensemble, the official choir of the Russian armed forces.