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MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. Preliminary analysis of data from the crashed Tu-154 flight recorder makes it possible to narrow the range of possible causes of the crash, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.
"The Central Research Institute of the Air Forces continues decoding of the magnetic media from the Tu-154 flight recorder that was taken from Sochi. Preliminary analysis of the flight recorder data makes it possible to narrow the range of possible causes of the plane crash. Final conclusions about the causes of the air crash will be made by the state commission when it studies all possible factors," the ministry said.
One of the plane’s flight recorders was found on the seabed in the crash area earlier on Tuesday. The other two flight records have not yet been found. In all, twenty fragments of the plane, including landing gear, pieces of two engines and fragments of a wing, were found during the day.
A Russian defense ministry Tu-154 bound for Syria crashed in the early morning on December 25 shortly after taking off from Sochi. 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.
A number of Tu-154 fragments were found several hours later some 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters.
Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov, who leads the government commission probing into the crash, said that terrorism was not considered to be a cause of the crash. The Federal Security Service said that investigators were considering a pilot error, a technical fault, bad fuel and a foreign object in the engine as four main possible causes of the crash.