Terrorism is not among the main reasons being investigated for the plane crash in Russia which killed 92 people early on Christmas morning according to the country’s defence ministry, as it expands its search in an attempt to locate the aircraft’s black box flight recorder.
Russia’s Ministry of Defence has found 86 fragments of the plane, according to a briefing on its website.
Technical problems or pilot error are the main considerations for officials investigating the crash, with footage from a car video being used in the investigation, reports Russia’s state-run news agency, Tass.
Over 3,500 people are involved in the search operation, with 182 divers and 43 sea vessels. Four fragments of the plane have reportedly been found so far, but the main fuselage is yet to be found, the BBC reports.
Russian state-backed news organisation Russia Today has published images that appear to show search workers retrieving debris from the water.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a Defence Ministry spokesman, said 11 bodies had been recovered, according to Reuters, while denying a report that some of the dead passengers had been wearing life jackets.
Tass reports the first of the victims has been identified.
The plane disappeared from radar one minute after a normal take-off, according to the FSB, Russia’s intelligence service.
The plane, a Tupolev Tu-154, was manufactured in Russia. It was reportedly flying to Syria, where the military band which comprised most of the passengers, along with journalists and crew, was planned to entertain troops.
Boxing Day was designated a national day of mourning by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
He expressed his “most heartfelt condolences to the families of our citizens killed in the Tu-154 crash in the Black Sea this morning,” while announcing an inquiry into the causes of the crash.
The UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, had tweeted his condolences as news of the crash emerged.