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Russian transport minister to hold press conference on Tu-154 search operation

December 29, 2016, 0:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian Defense Ministry’s Tu-154 plane crashed on December 25 killing 92 people onboard

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Rescuers during the search and rescue operation at the crash site of Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 plane in the Black Sea

Rescuers during the search and rescue operation at the crash site of Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 plane in the Black Sea

© Artur Lebedev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, who heads the commission on investigating the Russian Defense Ministry’s Tu-154 crash, will tell about the search and rescue operation and assistance provided to the relatives of those who were onboard. Sokolov’s press conference will be held at TASS. Among other participants in the press conference will be representatives of agencies ― members of the commission, including the defense ministry and Rostrud (Federal Labor and Employment Service of Russia).

The Russian Defense Ministry’s Tu-154 plane crashed on December 25 killing 92 people onboard. The plane was en route from the Chkalovsky airport to the Hmeymim airbase in Syria with a stop for refueling in Sochi. The plane crashed two minutes after taking off from the Sochi airport at 5.25am.

Among those onboard the crashed plane were servicemen; journalists from Channel One, Zvezda TV channel and NTV; head of the "Fair Help" charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr Liza; and members of the famous Alexandrov Ensemble, who were going to Syria to congratulate Russian servicemen at the Hmeymim airbase with New Year.

There are now four main theories about the causes of the crash. On December 26, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the four main possible causes of the Tu-154 crash ― foreign objects in the engine, low quality fuel, pilot’s mistake and technical fault.

The search operation for plane’s fragments continues at the crash site. Over 3,600 people and over 500 units of equipment are taking part in the operation.

The three black boxes of the Tu-154 have been found. Two of them were already delivered to Moscow and are currently being deciphered, a source in security agencies told TASS earlier. Divers retrieved 18 bodies, which will be taken to Moscow for identification.

The family of each servicemen that died in the Tu-154 crash will receive a compensation ― over 5.8 billion rubles in total.

The government commission on investigating the crash includes representatives of the Transport Ministry, Federal Air Transport Agency, Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry, Emergencies Ministry, Federal Labor and Employment Service, Healthcare Ministry, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.

The tragic death of passengers and crew of the aircraft led to a wave of condolences in Russia and abroad. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Monday, December 26, as the day of mourning.

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