Russia: No sign of terror plot in plane crash

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s intelligence agency FSB says it sees no signs of a possible terror plot in Sunday’s plane crash over the Black Sea.

All 92 people on the Russian military plane are believed to have died when it crashed two minutes after taking off from the southern city of Sochi. The passengers included dozens of singers in Russia’s world-famous military choir, nine Russian journalists and a Russian doctor known for her charity work in war zones.

The FSB said Monday in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies that it “has not found any signs or facts pointing to a possible terror attack or sabotage on board.”

The intelligence agency says it is focusing the probe on possibilities including pilot error, low quality of fuel, external objects getting in the engine or an unspecified technical fault.

The loss of so many talented colleagues is devastating to members of the Russian Defense Ministry choir who did not get on the plane that crashed into the Black Sea.

The choir was on its way to perform a New Year’s concert at a Russian air base in Syria when their plane crashed Sunday right after takeoff from Sochi. All 92 people aboard are presumed dead.

Vadim Ananyev, a soloist for the Alexandrov Ensemble, had gotten permission to skip the concert to help his wife as they just had a new baby.

Ananyev tells The Associated Press “I have lost my friends and colleagues, all killed, all five soloists — I feel in complete disarray.”

He says “it is such a shame. I have known these people for 30 years. I know their wives and children. I feel terrible for the children and for all that I have lost.”

Ananyev says he has received condolences from all over Russia and from abroad.

People are bringing flowers to the office of the Russian choir whose members have died in a plane crash over the Black Sea as Russia holds a day of mourning.

All 84 passengers and eight crew on the Russian military’s Tu-154 plane are believed dead after it crashed shortly after takeoff from the southern Russian city of Sochi. The passengers included dozens of singers in Russia’s world-famous military choir, nine Russian journalists and Russian doctor known for her work in war zones.

Red and white carnations have piled up at tables outside the Moscow office of the Alexandrov Ensemble, which was to have performed at a New Year’s concert at the Russian base in Syria. Mourners also lit candles and brought flowers to Channel One and NTV, whose TV journalists were going to Syria to cover the concert, and to a charity founded by Dr. Yelizaveta Glinka, who was on the plane bringing medicines to Syria.

Russian TV channels have taken entertainment shows off their programs and outdoor seasonal celebrations have been scrapped across Russia.

Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov says a pilot error or a technical fault are likely to blame for Sunday’s crash of a Russian Tu-154 carrying 92 passengers and crew. The military plane crashed into the Black Sea on its way from the southern Russian city of Sochi to Syria.

Among its passengers were members of the world-famous Russian army choir who planned to perform at a New Year’s concert at the Russian military base in Syria.

 

 

(Copyright (c) 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)