PLANE

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sian doc­tor fa­mous for her work in war zones.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin went on tele­vi­sion to de­clare Mon­day a na­tion­wide day of mourn­ing.

“We will con­duct a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the rea­sons and will do ev­ery­thing to sup­port the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies,” Putin said.

The Black Sea search area — which cov­ered over about 4 square miles — was made more dif­fi­cult by un­der­wa­ter currents that car- ried de­bris and body frag­ments into the open sea. Sokolov said the plane’s flight recorders did not have ra­dio bea­cons, so lo­cat­ing them on the seabed was go­ing to be chal­leng­ing.

The Tu-154 is a Sovi­et­built three-en­gine air­liner de­signed in the late 1960s. More than 1,000 have been built, and they have been used ex­ten­sively in Rus­sia and world­wide. The plane that crashed Sun­day was built in 1983, and un­der­went fac­tory check-ups and main­te­nance in 2014 and this year, ac­cord­ing to the De­fense Min­istry.

Magomed Tol­boyev, a dec­o­rated Rus­sian test pi­lot, said it was clear that all on board had died in the crash.

“There is no chance to sur­vive in such sit­u­a­tion,” he said, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­fax news agency.

Be­fore Sokolov spoke to re­porters in Sochi, se­nior Rus­sian law­mak­ers had ruled out a ter­ror at­tack, ar­gu­ing that the mil­i­tary plane was un­der re­li­able pro­tec­tion.

Se­cu­rity is par­tic­u­larly tight in Sochi, the Black Sea city that hosted the 2014 Win­ter Games and is reg­u­larly vis­ited by Putin, who of­ten re­ceives for­eign lead­ers at his res­i­dence there.

But some ex­perts said the crew’s fail­ure to re­port a mal­func­tion pointed at a pos­si­ble ter­ror at­tack.

“Pos­si­ble mal­func­tions ... cer­tainly wouldn’t have pre­vented the crew from re­port­ing them,” Vi­taly An­dreyev, a for­mer se­nior Rus­sian air traf­fic con­troller, told RIA Novosti.

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