MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - There were 11 people on board the Pacific Fleet's Tu-142 plane that has crashed off Russia's Pacific coast, an Air Force source in the Far Eastern Military District said on Saturday.
A Tu-142M3 Bear-F plane reportedly went down during a combat training flight around 21:19 local time (11:19 GMT) on Friday some 20 kilometers (12 miles) offshore in the Tatar Strait, which separates mainland Russia from the island of Sakhalin.
"According to latest data, the Tu-142 plane, which has crashed during a training flight, had 11 people on board," the source said, adding that the military authorities had a full list of the personnel on board the plane.
According to preliminary data, the crash was caused by a technical failure.
The remains of the plane were located on Saturday morning by several ships and planes at the depth of about 44 meters (144 feet).
"There are pieces of debris on the surface, which could be the remains of the fuselage and the interior of the plane," a local emergencies official said.
The search for the missing crew members is underway, although the rescue officials fear they have most likely died in the crash.
"Taking into consideration the circumstances of the crash, we could presume all military personnel on board the Tu-142 plane to be dead. However, the rescue operation will continue until the last hope to find the survivors is gone," a Russian military source said.
He added that the Russian Navy will deploy, if necessary, the newest Pantera and Kalmar robotic deep-water rescue vehicles to recover the plane's on-board recording devices.
Tu-142M3 is a Russian maritime reconnaissance/anti-submarine warfare (ASW) turboprop aircraft. It is a modified version of the Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber.
According to open sources, Russia's Pacific Fleet has at least eight Tu-142M3 aircraft in service.