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Landing gear break considered as main version of Su-24 crash

October 21, 2011, 12:40 UTC+3

The bodies of the two pilots are expected to be recovered this Friday

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MOSCOW, October 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Landing gear break is considered as the main version of the cause of the Su-24 crash.

When the plane landed, the front gear might break and damage the fuel tank, causing the fire, a source at the press service of the Russian Investigative Committee's Main Military Investigative Department told Itar-Tass on Friday.

The Su-24 crashed when landing on the airfield in the settlement of Seryshevo, the Amur Region, for refueling. The crew died. The plane turned over. It cannot be repaired, specialists said.

Many fragments of the plane were found on the runway and taken for the investigation. Aside from the braking and skid tracks, there are traces of painting of the plane fuselage colour. Technical documents, audio recordings of talks between the crew and the controllers from the technical command post and fuel samples are also taken for the investigation.

Servicemen who witnessed the crash are questioned. The chief flight controller of the military unit said that there had been no reports from the plane crew about any malfunction. The runway was prepared for the landing, and he personally examined it. Everything on the airfield worked as normal.

One flight recorder that was aboard the plane is recovered from the site.

The bodies of the two pilots are expected to be recovered this Friday.

As there is a risk that the seats may eject, the operation to examine the plane and recover the bodies and the flight recorder continued in the light daytime on Friday with the participation of members of the Air Force accident investigating commission.

The Su-24M bomber with the crewmembers -- the crew commander Oleg Noskov and navigator Vitaly Novoselsky -- led by a similar plane in the pair, was on a flight to the aircraft repair plant in the village of Vozdvizhenka, the Primorsky Territory, for scheduled repair. The plane crashed when landing for refueling in Seryshevo, the Amur Region.

The Belogorsky garrison military investigation office has initiated a criminal case on charges of violation of the flight safety and flight preparation regulations (Article 351 of the Russian Criminal Code).

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