Russian officials have ruled out the possibility of an explosion on board a military plane which recently crashed into the sea.
On Thursday, General Lieutenant Sergey Bainetov, the chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Flight Safety Service, said there was no explosion on board, but equipment was not functioning correctly when the jet plunged into the Black Sea.
A Tu-154 plane lost contact with air traffic control and crashed shortly after takeoff from Sochi airport on Sunday morning.
A total of 92 people were on board the ill-fated plane, including performers from the renowned Red Army Choir troupe and journalists. All the passengers are feared dead as no survivors have so far been found.
However, Bainetov, who heads a state committee tasked with investigating the reason behind the crash, did not rule out the possibility of a terrorist act on board the plane.
“An act of terror is not necessarily an explosion, so we are not discarding this version,” he said.
Bainetov said the air force had grounded its soviet-era Tu-154 military airplane, “until the first conclusions” are made about the incident.
Meawhile, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said an ongoing probe had already confirmed that the plane’s equipment was malfunctioning.
“It is obvious that the equipment was functioning abnormally. Why that happened is up to experts to work out,” he told reporters.
An analysis of the second black box, which records conversations in the cockpit, suggests the pilot of the crashed plane had noticed something was wrong with equipment.