Russia's Emergencies Ministry rescuers, border guards, law-enforcers and other state servants started to mop up the taiga in the area of the IL-76 air crash, shortly after the sunrise on Tuesday. A RIA Novosti correspondent found out in the Far Eastern regional centre of the Emergencies Ministry that this area occupying five square km has a difficult terrain-cliffs, taiga, and a mountain river. The searches of December 3rd and 4th spotted fragments of 18 bodies--passengers of the crashed aircraft. A road now links the nearest settlement of Novaya Inya with the site of the accident. Rescuers and border guards have put up a camp, are guarding the scene and the wrecks of the aircraft's fuselage. The latter will be examined by a special commission, which will leave Moscow for the scene of the crash today. Besides, on Tuesday top officials of the federal border service, which actually operated the crashed aircraft, are also expected at the site. A RIA Novosti correspondent was told Tuesday in the administration of the Okhotsk region that the day before the tragedy local residents could hear a powerful sonic boom and saw the aircraft's fragments fall. They assume that this was an explosion in the air at the height of about 7-9,000 metres. Russia's Il-76 aircraft crashed on Sunday near the Novaya Inya settlement /Khabarovsk territory/. The aircraft was heading from Sheremetyevo airport of Moscow to Anadyr /a port on the Bering Sea, Russia's Far East/. It was to make a landing in Bratsk /Siberia/ and was carrying a freight of construction materials and food stuffs. There were 18 passengers aboard the vessel, including 8 crewmen.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February