Divers find fragments and bodies from Russian jet following Black Sea plunge
DIVERS have recovered at least 13 bodies and fragments of the Russian passenger jet that crashed into the Black Sea, killing all 92 people on board.
Russia’s emergency situations ministry said divers found several fragments of the plane a mile offshore and 25 meters (82 feet) under the sea.
It said some of the debris has been recovered and the divers are going back into the water to search for more.
All 92 people on board the Russian military’s Tu-154 plane are believed to have died on when the jet crashed two minutes after taking off from the southern city of Sochi en route to Syria.
More than 3,500 rescue workers are involved in the operation to find the remains of those on board and plane debris.
As Russia held a day of mourning for the victims, pilot error or a technical fault – not terrorism – was being held as the most likely cause of the crash.
The passengers included singers in Russia’s world-famous military choir, nine Russian journalists and a Russian doctor known for her charity work in war zones.
The search party has not yet found the plane’s black box flight recorders, Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said the plane’s flight recorders did not have radio beacons, so locating them on the sea bed would be hard.
Mr Sokolov said terrorism was not a main theory for the crash cause and that authorities were looking into a possible technical fault or a pilot error.
The intelligence agency FSB said it had not found any signs pointing to a terror attack or sabotage.
The intelligence agency is now focusing the probe on possible pilot error, low quality of fuel, external objects getting into the engine or an unspecified technical fault.
The plane began its flight from Moscow’s military airport of Chkalovsky.
The FSB insisted the plane was under its surveillance and that only two people, both FSB officers, had gone on board when the jet landed in Sochi for refuelling.
The plane did not carry any military or dual-use cargo, the FSB said.
By yesterday, rescue teams had recovered at least 13 bodies.