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Russian officials extend Sochi plane crash probe

December 25, 2017, 13:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The findings make it possible to completely rule out an explosion scenario on board the aircraft, the Investigative Committee spokeswoman noted

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Flowers left on the seafront in Adler, Sochi, in memory of the victims of the 25 December 2016 crash of Russia's Tu-154 military plane

Flowers left on the seafront in Adler, Sochi, in memory of the victims of the 25 December 2016 crash of Russia's Tu-154 military plane

© Artur Lebedev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. The Russian Investigative Committee has extended the deadline for the investigation into the crash of a Tu-154 plane from the Defense Ministry a year after the disaster. Russian Investigative Committee Spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said that "the criminal investigation into the cause of the Tu-154 crash on December 25, 2016, continues as prescribed by law."

There are 156 officially recognized victims in the criminal case. "Work is underway with more than 100 witnesses, including Aerospace Force officials, as well as employees from Sochi International Airport, who were responsible for pre-flight preparations and air traffic control," Petrenko said. A full-scale commission on the flight’s technical aviation forensic expertise is being carried out with the help of experts.

"All the objective findings obtained make it possible to completely rule out an explosion scenario on board the aircraft," the Investigative Committee spokeswoman noted. Data was presented on 356 forensic medical examinations, 23 molecular genetic analyses, three explosive technical probes and one phonoscopic study, she said. A chemical analysis of combustive and lubricating materials was also completed.

The Investigative Committee chairman is closely monitoring the investigation into this criminal case.

A Tu-154 aircraft from the Russian Defense Ministry crashed in the small hours of December 25, 2016. The disaster occurred soon after the aircraft had taken off from Sochi International Airport. The plane was carrying 92 people on board - servicemen, mass media representatives, Just Help head Yelizaveta Glinka as well as performing artists from the Alexandrov Ensemble (the Red Army Choir) - who were going to the Hmeymim airbase in Syria to celebrate the New Year with the Russian Aerospace Force group. All of those on board died in the crash.

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