Flowers are placed on a pier as a boat of Russian Emergencies Ministry sails near the crash site of a Russian military Tu-154 plane.Reuters
Russia’s federal security service FSB has said the investigators probing into the causes of the loss of a Tu-154 plane of the Russian Defense Ministry are proceeding along four main lines of inquiry.
"The four main versions are an engine being hit by a foreign object, substandard fuel that caused the loss of thrust on and eventually stopped the engines, the pilot’s mistake and the plane’s technical failure," the FSB said.
"At this point there is no evidence or trace that might point to the possibility of a terrorist attack or sabotage on board," the FSB said.
"By now several witnesses of the plane’s crash have been established. Also, there is a file retrieved from a car video recorder. The investigators are questioning the witnesses and examining the video," the FSB said.
A Tupolev-154 passenger jet of the Russian Defense Ministry was on the way to Latakia, Syria. On Dec. 25 it went missing from the radar screens at 05:25 Moscow time, a minute after leaving Sochi airport, at a distance of 6,250 meters from the edge of the runway. Radio contact with the plane was instantly lost.
At this point it is already clear that the plane’s speed at the moment of takeoff was 345 kilometers per hour, which is a standard speed for the planes of this type. The site of the crash has been identified 1,500 meters away from the coastline. A massive search operation is proceeding in the area.
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