Russia mounted an expensive search-and-recovery operation in the Black Sea on Monday for the passengers and the fuselage of a military passenger plane that crashed a day earlier, killing all 92 people on board, including dozens of members of a storied army choir.
Investigators have yet to confirm the cause of the crash, but officials said on Monday that an act of terror was not being considered as a possible explanation, despite the plane and its black boxes still being underwater.
“Today, as far as we know, the major versions do not include the terrorist attack, so we assume that the cause of the crash could be either technical malfunction or pilot error. I will emphasize, however, that this will be established by investigators as well as special technical commission of the Russian Defense Ministry,”
-Sokolov told a press briefing after a meeting of the commission to investigate the disaster broadcast live by the Russia 24 TV channel.
The plane was carrying 68 performers and staff members of the ensemble, including an army choir and orchestra loved for its renditions of classical Russian songs and folk tunes.
“In order to organize our work, we need to understand what happened,” Mr. Sokolov said at the news conference. “As far as we know, the main versions do not include the terrorist act, so we base our work on the premise that technical malfunction or pilot’s error caused the catastrophe.”