The Russian Tu-154 transport aircraft that crashed on the morning of December 25th killing all 92 people on board likely did not go down due to terrorism according to a release by the Kremlin on Monday.
The plane was carrying 64 members of the famed Alexandrov Ensemble, a Russian Army military choir. The choir was reportedly on the way to perform for Russian troops deployed at a base in Syria. The Tu-154 crashed into the water about two minutes after takeoff in good weather.
Officials sought to squelch speculation that the crash might have been caused by a bomb planted on board or a portable air defense missile.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that an attack isn’t a likely scenario. Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, who oversaw the rescue efforts, said investigators were looking into a possible technical fault or pilot error as the most likely reasons behind the crash.
But some experts remained skeptical, noting that the crew would have reported any technical glitch.
“Possible malfunctions … certainly wouldn’t have prevented the crew from reporting them,” Vitaly Andreyev, a former senior Russian air traffic controller, told RIA Novosti, adding that an “external impact” was the most likely reason. – AP
Reports are that 11 bodies have been found. 43 ships and more than 180 divers are at work in the recovery efforts so far. It would prove embarrassing to Russia if a terrorist act took down a plane filled will military members.
Featured Image of Alexandrov Ensemble by Loraine (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons