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Russian Plane Crash: Second Black Box Retrieved | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Flowers in memory of passengers and crew members of Russian military Tu-154, which crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday, are placed at an embankment in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia, December 26, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Moscow – A team of experts began analyzing the second black box retrieved from the crash site of the Russian plane which crashed two minutes after its take off from Sochi.

Russian authorities said on Thursday it would take at least 30 days to establish the cause of a plane crash in the Black Sea on Sunday that killed 92 people.

“We hope to reach final conclusions no earlier than in 30 days,” Sergei Bainetov, lieutenant general with Russian defense ministry, told a briefing.

“The was no explosion on board,” said Bainetov. “But this isn’t the only type of terrorist act … It could have been any type of mechanical impact, so we don’t rule out a terrorist act,” he added.

The condition of two flight data recorders – the cockpit voice recorder and the main one is satisfactory, a security source told TASS agency.

The source said the box, which contains flight information that could help identify the cause of the crash, would be sent to Moscow for analysis, “their decoding is taking place in Moscow.”

At the same time, a source told Interfax agency that Russian Air Force is done with analyzing the data of the first black box.

Investigators have so far said that pilot error might have occurred; a theory which was rejected by some aviation experts.

Other Russian investigators, believe a fault with its wing flaps was the reason it plunged into the Black Sea, an investigative source told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

However, Nikolai Antoshkin, the former deputy chief of the Russian air force, dismissed the claim, saying that responding to flap malfunctions is part of standard pilot training. “If flaps fail to retract or extend in time … pilots know how to deal with it, it’s not a problem at all,” he said in remarks carried by the state RIA Novosti news agency.

The major search operation in the Black Sea waters after the crash of the Tu-154 plane of the Russian Defense Ministry has been completed, a source in the operation headquarters told TASS on Thursday.

“The active phase of the search operation in the Black Sea waters has been completed,” the source said. Almost all parts of the aircraft have been pulled from the Black Sea’s bed to the water surface.

The Defense Ministry said 15 bodies and 239 body fragments have been recovered from the crash site. It previously said 17 bodies had been found.

The Tu-154 jet crashed into the sea early Sunday, two minutes after taking off from the southern Russian city of Sochi. It was carrying members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, widely known as the Red Army Choir, to a New Year’s concert at a Russian military base in Syria.