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Russian Defense Ministry Grounds Tu-154 Planes After Deadly Crash

© REUTERS / Dmitry PetrochenkoA Tupolev Tu-154 stands on the tarmac of the Chkalovsky military airport north of Moscow, Russia. (File)
A Tupolev Tu-154 stands on the tarmac of the Chkalovsky military airport north of Moscow, Russia. (File) - Sputnik International
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The head of the Russian Armed Forces’ Flight Safety Service said that all Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft have been temporarily grounded in Russia until initial results of an inquiry into last week’s crash in the Black Sea.

Emergencies Ministry rescuers during a search operation at the crash site in the Black Sea near Sochi. - Sputnik International
Divers Recover Magnetic Tape From Crashed Tu-154's Missing Flight Data Recorder
MOSCOW (Sputnik) All Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft have been temporarily grounded in Russia until initial results of an inquiry into last week’s crash in the Black Sea, the head of the Russian Armed Forces’ Flight Safety Service said Thursday.

A Tu-154 plane of the Russian Defense Ministry crashed last Sunday, less than two minutes after taking off at the Adler airport in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi where it had stopped for refueling on the way from Moscow to a military base in Syria.

"As of now, flights of this type of aircraft have been suspended until the commission makes preliminary conclusions," Lt. Gen. Sergei Bainetov told reporters.

The official added he expected the ban on Tu-154 flights to be lifted after the investigation had been completed. Tu-154s are no longer used by Russia’s airlines but are still flown by its military.

"Why should we stop using a plane with a good flight record? Planes that are still airborne are technically ready. All regular repairs are done according to schedule. I think that the fleet of these planes will be used after this air accident," Bainetov said.

All 92 on board the crashed Tu-154 plane died. Their remains have been recovered and will be identified by forensic scientists using DNA samples from their relatives. There were eight crew members, 64 musicians of the Alexandrov military choir, nine reporters, two federal civil servants and the head of the Fair Aid charity, Elizaveta Glinka.

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