Moscow: A Russian military plane crashed
into the sea during a training exercise in Russia`s Far East
region, leaving all eleven crew members missing and presumed
dead, officials said today.
The Tupolev Tu-142 plane disappeared from radar as it
was coming to the end of a training mission Friday over the
Tatarski Strait that divides Russia`s Far East island of
Sakhalin from the mainland, the defence ministry said.
"Given the conditions under which the catastrophe took
place, we can presume that all the crew aboard the Tu-142 were
killed," a source in the emergencies ministry told the RIA
Novosti news agency.
"But search operations will continue as long as there
is the slightest hope of finding someone alive," the official
Military sources told Russian news agencies that
there were 11 crew aboard the plane. Previously, officials had
said there were 10 crew members.
An emergencies ministry source in the Khabarovsk
region in the Far East told RIA Novosti that in the early
morning an object was found at a depth of 44 metres underwater
"which appears to be the fuselage of the plane".
"Objects are being investigated at water level
which could be fragments of the plane," the source added.
Search teams lead by Russia`s Pacific Fleet were
currently searching for the plane`s black boxes and could use
special submersibles to locate them, RIA Novosti said.