The black box of crashed Russian Defence Ministry Tu-154 found at depth of 17 meters after 2 years
On 25 December 2016, a Tupolev Tu-154 jetliner of the Russian Defence Ministry crashed into the Black Sea shortly after taking off from Sochi International Airport, Russia, while en route to Khmeimim Air Base, Syria.
All 92 passengers and crew on board, including 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble choir of the Russian Armed Forces, were killed. The aircraft had flown from Chkalovsky Airport and had landed at Sochi to refuel.
The fragments have been found at the depth of 30 meters (98ft). The fragments include the fuselage and parts of the engine.
Some 45 ships, 15 underwater drones, 192 divers, 12 planes, and 5 helicopters are currently involved in the search, according to the ministry.
At least 12 bodies from the plane crash have been recovered so far, the ministry said.
The black box was located some 1,600 meters (one mile) from shore by a FALCON underwater drone.
The black box has been delivered to the Central Research Institute of the Russian Air Force in the Moscow region. Specialists have already started to decode its data, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said on Tuesday.
The flight data recorder that is already being studied recorded the main parameters of the flight until its destruction, “so its data is very important for further investigation,” the minister said. He added “there is information” that other black boxes from the Tu-154 were located by radar.
All possible causes of the crash will be investigated, the official said, adding that those included the quality of the fuel. Meanwhile, “there are no claims to the work” of the airport, he added.
The minister also said that “the plane disintegrated into several parts, so it is not possible to talk about any main part” to be searched for.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the aircraft crashed into the Black Sea at a speed of over 500km/h (310mph), TASS reported, citing a source in law enforcement. Before the aircraft crashed, the crew was allegedly trying to perform a maneuver to its right, but the plane’s nose was turned up too far, the source said.
A source told TASS earlier that one of the key theories as to why the plane crashed “is that foreign objects penetrated the engine,” adding that other possible causes, such as pilot error and technical failure, are also being investigated.