Communications With The Tu-154 Crew Were Lost 5 Minutes After The Scheduled Radio Communications Check

Communication with the crew of the Russian TU-154 aircraft which had an accident over the Black sea in the vicinity of Adler was interrupted 5 minutes after the scheduled radio communications check. According to the RIA Novosti correspondent, this information was reported on Thursday by Aleksander Neradko, first deputy Transport minister of Russia, at a working briefing in the Russian State Civil Aviation Service. According to him, at 13.39 Moscow time the crew of the TU-154 aircraft established communications with air traffic controllers of the Rostov flight control center and reported that the flight was going on in the normal regime. Nevertheless 5 minutes later the aircraft mark disappeared from the radar screen. Neradko stated that the crew failed to report what happened on board the aircraft. He specially mentioned that usually during an aircraft fall from such height pilots were able to inform the ground services of the emergency situation. Neradko stressed that "for the first time in aviation practice complete silence of the TU-154 aircraft in the extreme circumstances was noted". An AN-24 aircraft of the Armenian airline was situated in the area where the Russian aircraft went down. Neradko reported that he personally talked to Garik Oganesyan, pilot-in-command of this aircraft. The Armenian pilot confirmed that while staying at the height of 6.3 kilometers he observed at the height of 11.1 kilometers a bright flash and formation of a smoky cloud as well as falling of burning debris. Oganesyan stated that "he thought of military exercises being conducted in this area and established communications with air traffic controllers. Though they reported that there were no exercises there but that a Russian aircraft was flying in this sector of the air space". Neradko indicated that the perished aircraft was rather new, it was manufactured in 1991 and was repaired only once having flown just 3000 hours. The TU-154 aircraft of the "Sibir" airline which was performing a charter flight from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk crashed on Thursday in the Black sea. According to the latest information 74 passengers and crew members were on board. Out of 66 passengers 15 were Russian citizens, 51 were citizens of Israel.

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