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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bomb May Have Hit Airbus

Flight recorders show that the pilots of the Aeroflot Airbus that crashed in Siberia last week were alive after their plane suddenly lost height, but experts said Wednesday that terrorism may still be the cause of the disaster.


Izvestia quoted Vadim Zamotin, head of the air traffic department in the Transport Ministry, as saying that the three flight recorders in the plane had taped conversations among the crew after they lost radio contact with air traffic control. The plane crashed 19 minutes later, killing all 75 passengers and crew aboard.


The news cast doubt on earlier theories that the March 23 crash of Flight 593 was caused by an explosion or by a sudden loss of pressure in the cockpit, which would have killed the pilots instantly.


But it does not solve the mystery of how a 2-year-old Airbus, cruising calmly in midair, suddenly got in trouble. Air traffic control never received any emergency signal after losing radio contact with the plane.


Keir Giles, who runs his own aviation company, Russ-Sky Ltd., said it remained a mystery why the local air traffic control did not receive a distress signal on the plane's radar echo. He said that this would have been possible even if the plane's radio equipment had broken down.


If the pilots were alive but could not send out this distress signal, the plane must have lost its electrical power, Giles said. And as the plane had numerous back-ups, few options but an explosion are likely to have wiped out all power sources, he said.


It is not yet known for how long the pilots were able to talk with each other after they lost radio contact, Giles said.


Itar-Tass, meanwhile, quoted unnamed experts in Paris as saying that terrorism could still not be ruled out.It also reported that 44 relatives of the victims on Wednesday boarded an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong to Moscow to identify the bodies, which were flown back to the Russian capital Tuesday night from the crash site near the Mongolian border.