Mourners gathered to lay flowers and light candles on Monday, a national day of mourning in Russia, for the 92 passengers and crew of an airplane that crashed into the Black Sea on Christmas Day.
The Tu-154 airplane was on its way from the southern Russian city of Sochi to the Hemeimeem air base in the Syrian coastal province of Latakia when it crashed into the sea.
Russia’s Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said on television that terrorism was not one of the main theories for the cause of the crash, and that authorities were looking into a possible technical problem or pilot error. The plane’s black boxes have not been found, according to the Associated Press.
Russia deployed more than 100 divers on 45 ships, 10 helicopters, two deep-water submersibles and drones to search for bodies and debris, the AP reported.
Rescuers have so far recovered 11 bodies and have flown them to Moscow for identification. Those aboard included members of the Alexandrov Ensemble of singers, who were scheduled to perform a concert at the Syrian air base. Journalists sent to cover the concert were also on board.
One of the passengers included Dr. Yelizaveta Glinka — known as “Dr. Liza” — who was delivering a shipment of medical supplies. She headed a charity that helps children in war zones.
As workers continue the search, parts of the airplane have been recovered about a mile from shore.
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