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Media reports on alleged causes of Tu-154 crash are authors’ personal opinions — IC

March 15, 21:50 UTC+3

Russia’s Investigative Committee continues its investigation into the Tu-154 crash in the Black Sea resort of Sochi

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MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Media reports about alleged causes of the Tu-154 military plane crash over the Black Sea are nothing else but their authors’ personal opinions, a spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee (IC) said on Wednesday.

"Assumptions, published in the media, about a possible human error or possible characteristics of the Tu-154 flight are not based on facts and are personal opinions of their authors," Svetlana Petrenko said, adding Russia’s Investigative Committee continues its investigation into the Tu-154 crash in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"The investigating team’s work is focused on establishing the causes of the disaster," she said in conclusion.

On March 14, the Kommersant daily published an article claiming that a technical stage of probe into the crash was complete. The publication said that experts had determined that the pilot of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Tu-154 aircraft, which crashed into the Black Sea during its flight from Sochi to Syria, had attempted to land the aircraft on the water.

Experts have come to the conclusion that the plane did not fall into the sea as had earlier been presumed. Sources told Kommersant that after take-off, the Tu-154 jet gained an altitude of around 250 meters and a speed of 360-370 kilometers per hour. After that, pilot Roman Volkov switched the plane into landing mode for an unexplained reason. During the next ten seconds, the aircraft descended under the pilot’s control and then hit the water, breaking apart.

Later, Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky said that the investigators had not come to any definite conclusions.

"The media reports contain just assumptions since the investigation has not come to anything as of yet," he said.

In the meantime, an informed source told TASS that the technical commission looking into the circumstances behind the military plane crash continues its work.

"The technical commission, bringing together experts and specialists of the Defense Ministry, Aerospace Force and Interstate Aviation Committee, has not finished its work yet," he said, noting different tests were underway.

"Conclusions about circumstances and contributing factors behind the crash will be drawn after the commission’s work draws to a close," he said, confirming that a human error was among the lines of inquiry.

A Russian defense ministry Tu-154 bound for Syria crashed in the early morning on December 25, 2016 shortly after taking off from Sochi airport. There were 92 people on board the aircraft, including eight crew members and 84 passengers. Among them were journalists from Russia's Channel One, Zvezda and NTV networks, servicemen and musicians from the world-acclaimed Alexandrov ensemble, the official choir of the Russian armed forces, who set off to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria. The Executive Director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Russian for Fair Aid or Fair Help) charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, was also on board the flight.

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