Two Russian Passenger Jets Crash
Two passenger jetliners have crashed over Russia in nearly simultaneous incidents, with as many as 94 people feared killed. A ministry spokeswoman said the wreckage of one jet was found ablaze in the Tula region, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Moscow. Search and rescue teams were at the site searching for possible survivors, but the ministry said none of the 34 passengers and eight-member crew are believed to have survived. The wreckage of the second jetliner has also been found, Russian state television reported early Wednesday, citing aviation officials. It was reported missing minutes after the first crash. They did not say whether any survivors were found.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered security services to launch an immediate investigation, Russian news agencies reported early Wednesday. The flights took off from Moscow within minutes of each other Tuesday night and were bound for cities in southern Russia. Witnesses reported seeing the first plane explode before it crashed, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.
Witnesses saw an explosion on board a Russian passenger plane just before it crashed late on Tuesday near the town of Tula, Interfax news agency quoted local authorities as saying on Wednesday.
The Emergencies Ministry said a three-engine TU-134 with 34 passengers and eight crew flying from Moscow to Volgograd crashed near Tula. It said another plane, a four-engine TU-154 with 44 passengers and eight crew on board, went missing near the southern city of Rostov-on-Don
A Russian airliner crashed south of Moscow, and another passenger jet went missing about the same time after both took off from Moscow, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Wednesday. There was no word on survivors. The agency also reported that witnesses said they saw an explosion before the Tula region crash. A Tu-134 airliner that apparently had 42 people aboard crashed in the region, 125 miles south of Moscow, at about 10:56 p.m. Tuesday, ITAR-Tass reported, citing the Emergency Situations Ministry. A Tu-154 with 44 people aboard went missing about the same time near Rostov-on-Don, about 600 miles south of Moscow, ITAR-Tass said.
Authorities initially said they found no wreckage, but at least one later news report appeared to confirm the crash of the second aircraft. CNN, citing aviation officials quoted by Russian television, reported that wreckage of the second jetliner had been found. Earlier, however, the agency said emergency officials reported that the second plane crashed about three minutes after the first one.
President Vladimir Putin has ordered the FSB security services to investigate Tuesday night’s incidents, Russian news agencies said Wednesday. A government source told Reuters that normally the FSB gets involved in such investigations only when there are suspicious circumstances. The plane that crashed near Tula was headed to the southern city of Volgograd, while the plane that disappeared was flying to the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where Putin is vacationing, ITAR-Tass reported.
In Washington, a senior U.S. State Department official said, Ã¢€œWe are obviously concerned by the news. WeÃ¢€™re following developments closely and trying to determine the facts.Ã¢€ The U.S. Homeland Security Department was monitoring the situation but was not implementing any additional security measures in the United States, spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said. When RussiaÃ¢€™s U.N. Ambassador Andrey Denisov was told of the initial report of two near-simultaneous crashes, he said, Ã¢€œNow we have to see if thereÃ¢€™s terrorism.Ã¢€ Raising that possibility, NBC News Moscow bureau chief Tom Bonifield reported that Ã¢€œthe war in Chechnya has raised, off and on since 1994, a real problem for Russia.Ã¢€ A series of deadly explosions in recent years has claimed hundreds of lives in blasts that have been blamed mostly on Chechen separatist rebels. Ã¢€œWe’ve seen repeated attacks Ã¢€” including here in Moscow Ã¢€” that have been caused by Chechen rebels,” Bonifield said, adding that Russian transportation officials Ã¢€œare fairly rigorous about protecting their aviation industry.Ã¢€ The crash comes only days before SundayÃ¢€™s presidential election in the breakaway republic of Chechnya. Pro-Russian President Akhmad Kadyrov was killed by a bombing in May.
I had an e-mail from Jeff Quinton about this earlier but didn’t pay it much attention; planes crash. But not two of them this close together. Obviously, terrorism is the most likely explanation.
Glenn Reynolds is suspicious, too.
Pejman Yousefzadeh “I’ve seen this before. It doesn’t end well.”
Juliette thinks it’s Russia’s 9/11.