Coincidence or terrorism?
Two Russian commercial airliners fell during Tuesday night with a total of 88 people on board in the south of the Russian Federation. There are no survivors reported.
The first aircraft, a TU-134 belonging to Volga-Aviaexpress, flight number 1303 from Moscow to Volgograd, with 34 passengers and 8 crew, disappeared from the radars at 22.56 MSK before crashing near the village of Buchalki, Kimovsk District, in the Region of Tula, 160 km. south of Moscow.
The second, a TU-154, belonging to Sibir Airlines, flight number 1047 from Moscow to Sochi, with 38 passengers and 8 crew, disappeared at 22.59 and crashed near the village of Tishkovo, 160 Km. from Rostov-on-Don, 960 Km. south of Moscow.
The fact that two aircraft crashed within four minutes of each other raised the suspicion that the act could have been perpetrated by terrorists.
President Vladimir Putin, on holiday in Sochi, has ordered the Federal Security Services (FSB) to investigate the crashes.
Previous Tu-154 major crash: Photo gallery
Some eye witnesses in Buchalki speak of three explosions before the TU-134 crashed, while others mention just one explosion. The second aircraft gave out an SOS signal before radar contact was lost, but according to sources in the Interstate Aviation Committee, this signal could have been anything from technical problems to hijacking. The signal means "dangerous situation on board".
The weather in both areas where the aircraft crashed was described by the meteorological services as quite bad. Both aircraft have now been found and the orange boxes are being investigated.
If this is coincidence or not, if it is a case of two accidents or two acts of terrorism, only an exhaustive investigation will tell the truth. Until then, the suspicion remains in Russia today that two accidents, a bomb attack at a bus stop in Moscow that left four people seriously wounded and the Presidential elections in Chechnya on Sunday are too many coincidences.