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MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. Another flight recorder of the ill-fortunate Tupolev-154 that crashed near Sochi last Sunday morning has been recovered from the seabed.
"The second flight recorder of the Tupolev-154 plane was spotted and recovered less than 30 minutes ago," the Defense Ministry’s report runs.
Earlier, the plane’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was delivered to the Russian Aerospace Force’s research center in Lubertsy, near Moscow. Primary analysis of the data already retrieved from the first recorder has allowed for narrowing the range of likely causes of the plane’s crash.
Divers have retrieved a total of 15 bodies and 239 body parts from the bottom of the Black Sea, the ministry said.
So far, 13 bodies and 168 body parts have been taken to Moscow’s Bureau of Forensic Medicine for identification procedures and DNA tests.
The ministry said 105 relatives of the plane crash victims have given their biological material for the analysis.
Since the start of the search operation, the divers have found 12 large and more than 1,500 small pieces of the plane, the Defense Ministry said. The effort was conducted round-the-clock.
At present, the operation involves 45 vessels, 15 deep-sea submersibles, 192 divers, 12 aircraft, 5 helicopters and drones. The large fragments, which were retrieved by the sea self-propelled crane Chernomorets 11, are now being taken to the shore. The debris included the chassis, the engine, the fuselage shell and personal belongings of passengers.
A Russian Defense Ministry Tu-154 plane bound for Syria crashed in the early morning hours of 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, servicemen and musicians from the world-renowned 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) charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, was also on board the flight.
The Defense Ministry said that debris from the Tu-154 aircraft was found 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters.