… from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: The Russian investigators are being careful to not voice any conclusions as to the cause of the crash, but they are releasing what their indications are. Blast damage is easy to confirm, and the shallow depth of the crash footage and available large port resources allowed for finding and raising a lot of wreckage quickly.
The focus now is the black box comment in the cockpit tape of the flap problem, but where it is acknowledged could still be a sabotage issue, although I can’t remember induced mechanical failure to have brought down a plane before, the old fashioned kind I mean, like a co-opted maintenance mechanic.
Someone messing with the computer control electronics is something else, as there is a history of that capability, and harder to prove in a wireless sabotage attack. Russian experts will get to the bottom of it, but whatever it is they conclude, we may or may not be told what it is.
By that I mean that if it were sabotage, they might want to keep that quiet until they learn who did it, if they can, and do their quiet retribution. As the old saying goes, “Revenge is best served cold”… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … December 29, 2016 –
Russian officials have ruled out the possibility of an explosion on board a military plane which recently crashed into the sea.
On Thursday, General Lieutenant Sergey Bainetov, the chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Flight Safety Service, said there was no explosion on board, but equipment was not functioning correctly when the jet plunged into the Black Sea.
A Tu-154 plane lost contact with air traffic control and crashed shortly after takeoff from Sochi airport on Sunday morning.
A total of 92 people were on board the ill-fated plane, including performers from the renowned Red Army Choir troupe and journalists. All the passengers are feared dead as no survivors have so far been found.
However, Bainetov, who heads a state committee tasked with investigating the reason behind the crash, did not rule out the possibility of a terrorist act on board the plane.
“An act of terror is not necessarily an explosion, so we are not discarding this version,” he said.
Bainetov said the air force had ground its soviet-era Tu-154 military airplane, “until the first conclusions” are made about the incident.
Meawhile, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said an ongoing probe had already confirmed that the plane’s equipment was malfunctioning.
“It is obvious that the equipment was functioning abnormally. Why that happened is up to experts to work out,” he told reporters.
An analysis of the second black box, which records conversations in the cockpit, suggests the pilot of the crashed plane had noticed something was wrong with equipment.
“Everything was going rather normally, but one phrase from the commander… suggests that an abnormal situation began to develop” he said.
Russian media reported, citing a dialogue in the cockpit, that the plane’s flaps failed to retract on time, leading to the crash, but Bainetov refused to confirm the report.
He cautioned journalists not to jump on any theories on the crash until the investigation is over. Until now, some 19 bodies and some 230 body parts have been found, Sokolov said.
“We established that the plane almost entirely broke apart when it hit the water surface and the sea bottom, which, of course, complicated the search,” he said.
Residents in Sochi and Moscow laid flowers at makeshift memorials to remember the passengers on the plane. The first victim of the crash was buried at a Moscow region military cemetery on Wednesday, officials said.