No terror link with plane crash: Russia (Lead)

September 15th, 2008 - 4:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Sep 15 (RIA Novosti) Russia Monday ruled out terror link with Sunday’s plane crash in the Russian city of Perm which killed all 88 on board and said the black box data will be decoded in three to four weeks. “According to the information of special services, no signs of a terrorist attack have been found,” Russian transportation minister Igor Levitin Levitin, heading the commission investigating the accident, said.

The Boeing-737-500, owned by flagship Russian carrier Aeroflot, lost contact with the control tower at around 3.15 a.m. Sunday and crashed half an hour later on a railroad track linking Yekaterinburg and Perm.

The plane had a six-member team of crew and 82 passengers, including seven children and 21 foreign citizens from Azerbaijan, Ukraine, France, Switzerland, Latvia, the United States, Germany, Turkey and Italy.

Technical failure is seen as the most likely cause of the crash. It was previously reported that the crash could have been caused by one of the plane’s engines catching fire.

The plane was in working order when it left Moscow, Levitin said.

The flight data recorders will be sent to Moscow for deciphering later Monday. The investigation into the crash will be carried out by the Interstate Aviation Committee along with the experts from the Boeing company, the plane’s manufacturers.

A spokesman for the company said it was ready to provide the investigators with various technical tests, the data on how the plane was built and how its systems worked. It will also send its experts to Russia if necessary.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it would send its experts to Russia to study the cause of the crash, a standard practice when a US-made plane crashes.

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