Specialists in the city of Rostov-on-Don started decoding video and audio material that could cast light on the Russian Tu-154 passenger aircraft crash that took place yesterday.
As thedeputy director general of the Nnrth Caucasian center for automatic control over the air traffic, Vladimir Zhukov stated, the video engineers together with spokesmen for the Office of the Public Prosecutor started decoding the radio record of negotiations and the video material, which was received by fling control officers on the radar sets.
Commenting on the version put forward by mass media , that the plane was allegedly hit by the missile, Zhukov said it was impossible to notice missiles (if there were any) on the assumption of the technical objective control means. RIA Novosti stated that the request to start the works was received Friday about 11 a.m. from the department of the Office of the Prosecutor General in the southern administrative district. Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia Sergey Fridinsky filed a lawsuit, “terrorism”, on the fact of Tu-154 crash above the Black Sea. The lawsuit was filed pursuant to the instructions from Vladimir Ustinov, the Russian Prosecutor General.
There is new information coming from Ukraine pertaining to the anti-missile exercise. The officials of the country deny the possibility the airliner was shot down by missile. Nevertheless, it is known that only 9 targets were hit by the Ukrainian anti-missile defense system, while there should have been 11 of them destroyed. One spy plane landed with a parachute at the site where the Ukrainian anti-missile defense base was situated and another one performed self-destruction. Nobody knows where those tw remaining missiles went.
Interfax news agency informed that Ukraine’s Defense Ministry that the military department of Ukraine had not yet completely rejected the version according to which a missile hit the plane. As it was said. “there were certain arguments in favor of the fact it could have happen indeed."
The S-200 long-range anti-aircraft missiles that took part in the military exercise are capable of hitting an air target that is up to 300 kilometers away. The area where the actual exercise took place was about the same distance away from the place where the Tu-154 plane crashed.
Moreover, as the source mentioned, the reflecting surface of the target, which was being hit, was a lot smaller than the surface of Tu-154. The civil plane was flying in the launching sector and although the distance to it was almost 100 kilometers longer than to the target, the radio-locating target designation station (which automatically accompanies the target and aims missiles for it) could easily re-aim the missile on a stronger signal from the passenger jet.
Besides, the source stressed, there is another fact in favor of the foregoing version. The pilot of the Armenian plane An-24, which was around the place of the tragedy registered two explosions. The S-200 missile explodes, when it gets closer to the target and the fragments of the missile destroy the target (another explosion was likely to happen at that).
The chief of the western Siberian regional department for the air transport Vladimir Tasun said earlier that a control officer saw a luminous spot on the radar set coming closer to the plane very fast. However, this information has not been officially confirmed.
Reuters photo: Rescue workers unload a fragment of the Tupolev Tu-154 plane from a ship in the Russian Crimean port city of Sochi, October 5, 2001