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Second flight recorder recovered from Black Sea crash site

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Search teams on Wednesday recovered another flight recorder from a military plane that crashed in the Black Sea, killing all 92 aboard, the Defense Ministry said.

The first flight recorder was found on Tuesday and experts have started analysing its data to determine the cause of the crash.

The Tu-154 of the Russian Defense Ministry crashed into the sea on Sunday, two minutes after taking off in good weather from the city of Sochi. It was carrying members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, widely known as the Red Army Choir, to a New Year’s concert at a Russian military base in Syria.

The Defense Ministry said 15 bodies and 239 body fragments have been recovered from the crash site. It previously said 17 bodies had been found.

A massive recovery effort has involved 3,600 people, including about 200 navy divers flown to the site from all over Russia. They have been aided by drones and submersibles.

Investigation into the crash

Investigators were looking into whether the crash might have been caused by bad fuel, pilot error, equipment failure or objects stuck in the engines. The top Russian investigative agency said it had taken samples from a fuel tank used to fill the plane, which flew from Moscow’s Chkalovsky military airport and stopped in Sochi for refueling.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily and online publication published what they described as a script of cockpit conversation, with a pilot yelling about a problem with the plane’s flaps and then shouting — “Commander, we are falling!” It was impossible to verify the report, but both publications were known to have good connections with Russian security agencies.

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