Skip to comments.Accidental Firing May Have Downed Russian Plane
Posted on 10/04/2001 8:51:03 AM PDT by Bob Evans
Siberian Airlines Flight SB 1812 left Tel Aviv for the Siberian city of Novosibirsk this morning and was about two hours into its journey when it plunged into the Black Sea about 114 miles off the Russian coastal city of Adler and about 110 miles southwest of the Russian city of Sochi.
U.S. officials tell ABCNEWS they had indications that the plane was brought down in an area near a Ukrainian military exercise. The officials said a "no-fly" area had been established for the exercises but it may not have been large enough.
U.S. intelligence is reviewing all data at the moment.
The news came as Russian President Vladimir Putin said a "terrorist act" could be responsible for the crash. Israeli aviation authorities today suspended all flights leaving Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport until further notice, Israel's Army Radio reported. However planes were permitted to land.
There were more than 70 people on board Flight SB 1812, according to Russian and Israeli sources, and most of the passengers were believed to be Israeli citizens.
'A Big White Spot on the Sea'
The Russian Tupolev 154 airliner, operated by Siberia Airlines, took off from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport this morning and was about two hours into its journey when air traffic controllers in Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russia, noticed that it had disappeared off their radar screens.
| Siberian Airlines Flight 1812 en route from Tel Aviv to the Siberian city of Novosibirsk crashed into the Black Sea today. (ABCNEWS.com/ Magellan Geographix)
A captain of an Armenian-owned An-24 turboprop plane in the region replied, and said he had seen "an exploding plane" on his port side, and that debris was falling into the Black Sea.
Garik Ovanisian, the pilot of the Armenian An-24, told The Associated Press his plane was at 20,790 feet above the Black Sea when the Tupolev 154 exploded.
"I saw the explosion on the plane, which was above me at an altitude of 36,300 feet," Ovanisian said. "The plane fell into the sea, and there was another explosion in the sea. After that I saw a big white spot on the sea, and I had the impression that oil was burning."
Putin Launches Investigation
Speaking to a meeting of senior European ministers in Moscow today, Putin said, "it is possible that it was the result of a terrorist act."
Israeli aviation officials said Flight SB 1812 went through the normal security procedures at Tel Aviv airport, where security standards are believed to be among the most stringent in the world.
According to a statement released by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the organization was "taking into account the latest events in the world, the theory of a terrorist act is being investigated first of all."
But in Tel Aviv, Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh said there was no clear evidence as yet, that the plane crashed as a result of a terror attack.
Putin has created a task force to be headed FSB chief Nikolay Patrushevby to investigate the crash. Hours after the crash, Putin met with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov and FSB head Nikolay Patrushev to discuss the situation. Putin has named Vladimir Rushailo, head of the Russian Security Council, to head the investigation.
President Bush has been briefed about the incident, said White House officials, and U.S.officials were carefully ascertaining the facts.
Emergency Teams at Work
Emergency teams at the site have recovered at least 12 bodies, according to Russian media reports. Rescue service crews from Sochi have been dispatched to the site, and two salvage-recovery tugs and an AN-12 plane and Mi-8 helicopter were also headed to the site. Early sightings from salvage planes in the area showed a "large reddish spot" and "white specks" on the surface of the Black Sea, according to Russian media reports.
The Russian salvage ship Spasatel Prokopchik was also being readied to aid in the rescue mission. The depth of the Black Sea in that area reaches about 1,000 meters.
ABCNEWS' Sergiusz Morenc in Moscow and reporters in ABCNEWS' Jerusalem bureau contributed to this report.
May not have been big enough? Good Lord...
-- if Lanny Davis were hired as the Ukranian spokesperson.
shouldn't joke- I just hope it was quick for the folks on the plane.
I have no respect for the Clinton administration criminals who covered up the overwhelming evidence that TWA Flight 800 was taken out by a missile.
Whoops! I didn't know the gun was loaded.
Interesting, many TWA800 followers think two missles were involved there too.
May is a weasel word. University professors are particularly prone to using it when they profess. Government bureaucrats use it for CYA purposes. May also means "may not." Always remember that.
If I were an Israeli, I would not buy into the missile training accident story until and unless there was absolute incontrovertable proof, and even then I wouldn't trust the proof unless I could determine it myself.
Trust no one. We live in a world where truth is spun into a vast web of deceit. Possible terror attacks and incidents are now being QUICKLY, and before any investigation, brushed off as mistakes, accidents, non-events, unrelated events, the whole nine yards of propaganda spinning.
Well, if we have evidence of not one but TWO SAMs, the probability of a "training exercise accident" drops and it looks more like a deliberate act.
Also, if it were a training exercise, what was the intended target? Hmmm...
Wasn't a Russian exercise. It was a "Ukrainian military exercise".
"The news came as Russian President Vladimir Putin said a "terrorist act" could be responsible for the crash."
I presumed that since the leader of Russia was commenting, Russia must run Ukraine.
The relationship is an uneasy one...