A search and rescue operation was resumed at the site of a Sukhoi Su-24M frontline bomber crash in the Volgograd region on Thursday morning, a defense and security source told Interfax-AVN.
"The principal work was suspended at nightfall yesterday. The site remained cordoned off. The work was resumed this morning, including with the use of heavy machinery, like excavators and cranes," he said.
Still nothing is known about the crew's fate, he said.
"Unfortunately, there are virtually no chances that the crew managed to eject. It is quite likely that the pilots remained in the cockpit, which went deep into the boggy ground on impact. Earthwork and cranes will be needed to be sure about this," he said.
It was reported earlier that a Sukhoi Su-24M frontline bomber crashed some 7 kilometers away from an airfield and outside populated areas in the Volgograd region at about 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Sources said the plane was on a weather reconnaissance mission.
"The most likely cause in this situation would be a power or control system failure. As the pilots had 3 to 4 minutes to end the flight, it looks like they might not have had enough time to avoid mechanical breakdown," a flight safety expert told Interfax-AVN.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.