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SOCHI, December 25. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee is looking at all possible theories of the Tu-154 plane crash near the Black Sea city of Sochi, including a terrorist attack, but it is too early to speak about it, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov, who heads the government commission probing into the crash, said on Sunday.
"The Investigative Committee is looking at various theories. Naturally, it considers the entire spectrum and any possible reasons that might have led to the crash. It is too early to speak about a terrorist attack," he said.
Flight recorders of the Russian Tu-154 plane were not equipped with radio beacons, so radars will be used to find them, Sokolov said:
"Flight recorders used in this type of planes are not equipped with radio beacons. Deep submersibles, including radio navigation means and deep radars will be used to search for the flight recorders."
"The duration of the operation will depend on the situation. But it may take long," the minister added.
According to the latest information from Russia's Defense Ministry, there were 92 people on board the aircraft, consisting of 8 crew members and 84 passengers. Among them was the Executive Director of the Fair Aid charity fund, Elizaveta Glinka, also better known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, as well as servicemen and reporters, including from Channel One, Zvezda and NTV.
The plane was also carrying more than 60 members of the famous Alexandrov ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian armed forces, who set off to celebrate the New Year with the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria. The choir’s conductor Valery Khalilov was also on the list of passengers.
The Defense Ministry said that debris from the Tu-154 had been found 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at the depth of 50-70 meters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to set up and head a government commission to look into the Tu-154 plane crash. The Investigative Committee announced that a criminal case was opened based on "the violation of rules of flights safety or preparation for them."