Russian Plane Crash: First ‘Black Box’ Found

Russian Plane Crash: First ‘Black Box’ Found

The flight data recorder of the Russian military airliner which crashed in the Black Sea on Sunday has been recovered and brought to Moscow.

The Tu-154 jet came down with the loss of all 92 passengers and crew. At least 12 bodies have been recovered so far.

It was carrying artistes due to give a concert for Russian troops in Syria, and journalists and military personnel.

The cause of the disaster is still being investigated but there is no suggestion of a terror attack.

Numerous fragments of the plane have been found, including the plane’s chassis and one of its engines, Russia’s defence ministry said.

The plane crashed soon after take-off from an airport near the city of Sochi, where it had landed for refuelling.

It disappeared from radar two minutes after taking off from Adler airport at 05:25 (02:25 GMT) on Sunday, heading for Latakia in Syria.

It was carrying 64 members of the famed Alexandrov military music ensemble, as well as one of Russia’s best-known humanitarian figures, Yelizaveta Glinka, known as Dr Liza, executive director of the Fair Aid charity.

The flight data recorder was found by a Seaeye Falcon underwater remotely operated vehicle at a depth of 17m (56ft), 1,600m from the shore, the Russian defence ministry told Russia’s Ria-Novosti news agency.

A military spokesman said the recorder was in a “satisfactory condition”.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu described the crash as a “horrible tragedy” and said everything was being done to establish the cause.

It is believed that the location of a second black box has also been established and it could be recovered shortly.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov reiterated that investigators were looking into whether pilot error or a technical fault might have brought down the aircraft.

A source close to the investigation told Interfax the plane may have been overloaded.

“Witness accounts and other objective data obtained during the investigation suggest the plane was unable to gain height and for some reason – possibly overloading or a technical fault – crashed into the sea,” the unnamed source said.

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