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Two Russian Airliners Crash Simultaneously

Posted August. 25, 2004 21:58,   


On the evening of August 24 (Russian time), two Russian airliners that took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport crashed almost simultaneously in two separate locations.

All 90 passengers and crewmembers are thought to be dead.

Although the underlying cause is still under investigation, foreign news agencies have pointed towards the possibility of a terrorist attack.

On this day, Russian authorities announced that the wreckage of a Tu-134 passenger aircraft headed for Volgograd was found 180km south of Moscow in the Tula region.

Witnesses testified that the plane exploded in mid-air before it crashed.

Two to three minutes afterwards, a Tu-154 aircraft headed for Sotchi, a coastal resort city located along the Black Sea, also crashed. This time, the crash occurred 965km south of Moscow in the Rostov region.

According to reports from the Interfax news agency, moments before the Tu-154 crashed, a signal that is activated only when “crew members are under attack” was transmitted, which heightens the possibility of terrorism attacks as the cause of the crashes.

Russian authorities have retrieved and have started to analyze the automatic recording devices aboard the flights, known as the black boxes.

Sotchi, the final destination for the Tu-154 aircraft, is where Russian President Vladmir Putin is currently spending his vacation.

Moments after the crashes, President Putin ordered the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) to “thoroughly investigate the incidents.”

Russian news agencies stressed △ that both aircrafts had taken off from the same airport, crashed almost simultaneously, △ and that threats were continuing from Chechen rebels, who are fighting for independence from Russia ahead of the August 29 Chechen presidential elections all point to the possibility that the same terrorist organization orchestrated both crashes.

Ki-Hyun Kim kimkihy@donga.com