Source revealed why secret services reject terrorist link in Tu-154 crash
Security services and the investigation do not consider this lead as primary.
In the investigation of TU-154 crash in the Black Sea, a terrorist link is not seen as primary lead due to a number of circumstances: according to a TASS source in the security services, initially the plane was not supposed to land in Sochi, and it was heavily guarded up to the departure.
The news agency’s interlocutor told that TU-154 left Chkalovsky Airport in the Moscow region after passengers and their luggage had been carefully screened. It was planned that the aircraft would refuel in Mozdok, however, it was changed for Adler due to weather conditions. "Thus, the information that the plane is to refuel in Sochi airport was not available in advance," representative of the special services said.
After landing in Adler, the plane was under protection. Only three people came aboard – two border guards and a customs officer, and only navigator left the plane to control the charging process. "No meals were delivered aboard; refueling was carried out by regular staff," the source stressed.
Thus, according to him, there is no evidence indicating a terrorist attack, therefore security bodies and the investigation do not consider this as a primary lead.
The crash, however, still causes such suspicions in a number of experts. Thus, as noted earlier by Air Forces Major and Pilot-Instructor Andrey Krasnopyorov, "It is too suspicious that after pulling up (which takes just a few minutes), the aircraft disappeared from radar screens. TU-154 has three engines, it is very reliable. I think there was aircraft break-up, like it was in Sharm El Sheikh, where the speed sharply decreased from 780 km/h to 170 km/h with subsequent altitude loss of 1000 meters."
He also added that if the plane had been whole and sound while falling, there would not have been such separation of fragments, therefore, "somewhere someone received a suitcase to plant." "Believe me, such fragment distribution is only possible if an aircraft is destroyed in flight," the expert concluded.
Aviation expert Vadim Lukashevich also said that the wreckage is scattered over a large area, which may be an indication that the plane began breaking in the air, "and if the break-up took place in air, it was a terrorist act."
Military expert Aleksandr Golts said that it is pointless to speak without whether it was a terrorist attack or malfunction without the black boxes; however, he noted an alarming detail – the Russian authorities began to deny the terrorist link from the very beginning.
In regard to black boxes, on Sunday night Minister of Transport Maksim Sokolov announced that they were not equipped with beacons, so they would have to be searched at the bottom, among other pieces. According to him, the wide scatter of wreckage is due to strong deepwater current.
Kommersant’s sources also believe a terrorist link is unlikely
Experts interviewed by Kommersant believe that a crash with such consequences could have occurred due to a technical fault. In particular, break of flap actuating gear could have taken place, causing their uneven extension. A version with the so-called flat-attitude spin is also not ruled out: TU-154 stabilizer stuck in pitchup position could have triggered this situation.
In addition, due to excessive intensity of altitude gain, pilots cannot compensate for the deviation of steering wheels; an aircraft loses speed and falls down into a flat spin, getting out from which is practically impossible for a passenger plane.
As for a terrorist link, a senior security forces officer noted that each Russian plane bound for Syria is an object of close attention on the part of NATO and its allies: appropriate surveillance systems are available in Turkey, Georgia, and Ukraine.
"Even if we had tried to hide the terrorist attack on board, it would have been recorded and immediately make public by our neighbors in the region," newspaper interlocutor stated.
As previously reported by an Interfax’s source in emergency services, according to preliminary data, when pulling up, the plane crew "experienced a technical malfunction of critical nature." A version associated with possible piloting error is not excluded, but it is highly unlikely due to the great experience of pilots.
Let us recall that TU-154 disappeared from radar at 05:27 Moscow time two minutes after taking off from Sochi. The crash victims include 64 music ensemble members, three camera crews (from NTV, Zvezda, and Channel One TV channels), Doctor Elizaveta Glinka, who was carrying medications to Syria, Director of the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Defense Anton Gubankov, and Head of Aleksandrov Ensemble Valery Khalilov. Monday, December 26, is declared a day of national mourning in Russia.