All passengers and crew have been killed in the crash of the Russian Tupolev 154 jetliner. The aircraft was carrying mainly holiday-makers coming back to their homes from the resort city of Anapa on Russia's Black Sea coast. The majority of the passengers were families, many with children.
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The crash was probably caused with a lightning which struck the plane, specialists say. Others believe that the aircraft fell down because of intense turbulence. Pilots started sending SOS messages when the plane was flying at the height of eleven kilometers. The last of the signals was received when the aircraft was 3,000 meters above the ground.
The plane fell down on a slope of a deep ravine. Some local residents saw the plane falling down. The people said that the plane was falling down in spins, hit the ground and exploded. They also said that they could see scattered airplane seats with dead people on them afterwards.
Rescuers have found only 30 bodies of the passengers so far. The works at the crash site will continue throughout the night.
The chairman of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry press service, Igor Kroll, said that a fire broke out on board the plane when the machine was flying. According to the official, the pilots attempted to perform an emergency landing and make the plane land on the bottom of the hull, without the use of the landing gear.
Specialists continue to investigate the reasons of the air crash.
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