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Black box from crashed Russian plane found in Black Sea

© Yekaterina Lyzlova, AFP | Russian rescue boats patrol off the coast of the Black Sea city of Sochi looking for debris of a Russian military plane, on December 26, 2016.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-12-27

Russian authorities have found a flight recorder in the wreckage of a military plane that crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday, killing all 92 on board, Russian agencies cited the Defence Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

The recorder, one of several reported to be on board, contains information which could help investigators identify the cause of the crash.

It will be sent to a Defence Ministry facility in Moscow for analysis, the ministry was cited as saying.

Investigators have so far said that pilot error or a technical fault were likely to have caused the Defence Ministry TU-154 to crash into the sea.

Russia has suspended flights of all TU-154 planes until the cause of the crash has been established, Russian news agency Interfax reported Tuesday.

The Defence Ministry TU-154 was carrying dozens of Red Army Choir singers and dancers Sunday to Syria to entertain Russian troops in the run-up to the New Year, as well as other passengers.

The Defence Ministry said search and rescue teams have so far recovered 12 bodies and 156 body fragments, news agencies reported.

The Interfax news agency, citing a law enforcement source, said a second flight recorder had also been found in the wreckage, but not yet raised to the surface.

The Tu-154 is a Soviet-built three-engine airliner designed in the late 1960s. The plane that crashed Sunday was built in 1983, and underwent factory check-ups and maintenance in 2014, the Defence Ministry said.

Russia mourns beloved musicians, humanitarian figure

On Monday, a nationwide day of mourning for the plane victims, red and white carnations piled up outside the Moscow office of the Alexandrov Ensemble, a military bands that was also a music and dance company and an icon of Russian culture.

The victims of the crash included 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, as well as one of Russia's best-known humanitarian figures, Yelizaveta Glinka, known as Dr Liza, executive director of the Fair Aid charity.

One singer who did not get on the plane for personal reasons said he was devastated at the loss of so many talented colleagues.

Soloist Vadim Ananyev had stayed behind to help his wife with the kids because they just had a baby.

"I have lost my friends and colleagues, all killed, all five soloists – I feel in complete disarray," Ananyev told The Associated Press. "It is such a shame. I have known these people for 30 years. I know their wives and children. I feel terrible for the children and for all that I have lost."

Ananyev said he had received condolences from all over Russia and from abroad.

"We were loved all over the world, never mind the political situation," he said.

Mourners also lit candles and brought flowers to Channel One and NTV, whose TV journalists were going to Syria to cover the concert, and to a charity founded by Dr Yelizaveta Glinka, who was on the plane bringing medicines to Syria.

At Sochi's brand-new Adler airport, which was built for the 2014 Winter Olympics, mourners came to light candles at the airport's chapel and lay flowers at an improvised shrine that featured photos of some of the victims. Locals also flocked to the city's port a few miles from the crash site to leave flowers by the waterfront.

Russian TV channels took entertainment shows off their schedules Monday, and outdoor seasonal celebrations were scrapped across Russia. 

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2016-12-27

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