Parts of crashed Russian plane found in the Black Sea

MOSCOW: Russian divers on Monday found parts of the military plane that crashed in the Black Sea with 92 people onboard, a local official said. “The (plane) debris are at the depth of 27 metres one mile from the shore,” said Rimma Chernova, a spokeswoman for the Sochi-based search and rescue operations run by the Russian emergency ministry.
Russian news agencies had earlier quoted an unnamed official as saying that the fuselage of the plane had been found, a statement local authorities did not confirm when contacted.
Chernova added that divers were planning to use a remotely-operated diving machine to determine the precise coordinates and size of the plane parts in order to understand what to do next. Officials said earlier that the flight recorders that could contain information about the Tu-154 plane’s last moments before the crash were located in its tail.
The plane carrying 92 people, including over 60 members of the Red Army Choir, went down on Sunday minutes after taking off from the airport of southern resort city Sochi, where it was refuelling on its way to Syria.
Thousands of people and dozens of ships, helicopters and drones, including deep-water diving machines, are taking part in the search operation.
Meanwhile, the first bodies of victims from the plane crash were flown to Moscow on Monday.
The bodies were to be identified after they reached the Russian capital, Deputy Defence Minister Pavel Popov said, as Russia held a national day of mourning.
The crash was most likely caused by pilot error or a technical problem, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said in comments carried by the Interfax news agency.
At least 11 bodies have been found, and a huge search effort continued on Monday. — dpa