Malfunction - main version of Tu-160 bomber crash

Malfunction is still believed to have caused the crash of a Tu-160 strategic supersonic bomber in September, Commander-in-Chief of Russia's Air Forces Colonel General Vladimir Mikhailov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying on Monday.

According to him, the commission is studying a multitude of possible causes of the crash, though malfunction remains the main version. Neither flight dispatchers nor the crew made any mistakes, "the commander and the crew acted adequately until the very end," the commander-in-chief pointed out.

Mikhailov was sure that "the real cause of malfunction will be discovered, and the hazard will be done away with".

It is the first case of this kind over the 17 years of the bomber's operation, and "it is premature to talk about a trend", the official said.

Detailed information will be made public "after the commission is through and gives its final version of the crash", Mikhailov remarked.

The Tu-160 strategic supersonic bomber of the Russian Air Forces was carrying out a checkout flight, having its power-units replaced, when it crashed in the Saratov region's Sovetsky district on September 18th killing 4. There were no weapons on board.

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