Armenian Plane Crashes; 113 Dead

An Armenian commercial jet carrying 113 people crashed into the Black Sea as it approached the Russian resort city of Sochi in stormy weather, killing everyone on board, Russia's Emergency Ministry said today.

Armenian Plane Crashes; 113 Dead

``They are all dead,'' Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Stadnikova said by telephone in Moscow. The wreckage of the plane is lying on the seabed about 400 meters beneath the surface and recovery efforts are being hampered by heavy rain and strong wind, she said.

The Airbus A320, flight RNV 967 from the Armenian capital Yerevan, was 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from Sochi's Adler airport when it disappeared from radar screens at about 4:05 a.m. local time, Russia's state-run Perviy Kanal television said. Terrorism has been ruled out, a spokesman for the airline, Armavia, told the network.

Twenty-six of the victims were Russian nationals and the rest were Armenian, Stadnikova said. Six of the passengers were children and eight crew, she said. Russian television showed pictures of relatives of the victims weeping at the airport.

Sochi and the towns on its adjacent coastline have been dubbed the Russian Riviera. The area became popular as a holiday destination in Soviet times and leaders from Stalin to Putin have stayed there.

Airbus

Airbus SAS, the world's largest aircraft maker, is sending six crash specialists to the site to help Russian authorities in their investigation, the Toulouse, France-based company said in an e-mail.

The A320 had logged 28,200 flight hours from almost 14,400 flights when it went down, Airbus said. Armavia started operating the craft in February, 2004.

Anne Gallabert, a spokeswoman for Airbus, said via telephone from Toulouse she didn't know how old the crashed plane was and that this is the sixth Airbus A320 out of 2,750 in operation that has been involved in a crash since the model was introduced in March 1988.

Airbus is in talks with Russia on forming a $25 billion partnership to develop a new passenger aircraft as President Vladimir Putin accelerates plans to revive the country's aerospace industry.

Last year in Russia there were 7 fatal aviation accidents in which 56 people died, Russia's transport ministry said in an e-mailed statement. Three quarters of them involved helicopters.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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