Parts of crashed Russian plane found in Black Sea
2016-12-27 09:24:00


Rescuers carry the body of a victim of Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 crash on the Black Sea coast off Sochi, Russia, Dec 25, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Russian rescuers found Monday the first parts of the Syria-bound military plane that plunged into the Black Sea, as officials said they do not suspect terrorism as the reason for the crash that killed 92 people on board.

The Tu-154 jet, whose passengers included more than 60 members of the internationally-renowned Red Army Choir, was heading to Moscow's military base in Syria when it went down off the resort city of Sochi shortly after take-off Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday over the crash of the plane.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi expressed deep sympathy over the accident and extended his sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

Investigators have yet to confirm the cause of the crash, but officials said that an act of terror was not being considered as a possible explanation, despite the plane and its black boxes still being underwater.

A spokesperson for the Sochi-based search and rescue branch of the emergency ministry confirmed that parts of the plane had been found underwater.

"The debris is at the depth of 27 meters 1.6 kilometers from shore," spokeswoman Rimma Chernova told AFP.

The Russian military added that divers had retrieved "two elements of the plane's control mechanism."

Russia's federal security service said it is looking into four suspected causes of the crash, which do not include terrorism.

"No signs or facts pointing to a possible act of terror have been received at this time," Russia's Federal Security Service said in a statement.

The probe is focusing on a pilot error, a technical fault, bad fuel and a foreign object in the engine as four main scenarios, it added.

More than three thousand people are racing to find the remaining bodies and debris in a massive operation that includes 45 vessels, planes, helicopters, and drones, along with divers and remotely-operated deep-water machines.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said some of the bodies could have already been carried off by the "strong current" to Abkhazia.

Source:People's Daily Online Editor:Angela