Still No Answers on Russian Plane Crashes

August 27, 2004

Russian authorities investigating the separate air disasters that occurred within minutes of one another on Tuesday night have so far failed to release any conclusions as to the cause(s) of the tragedy.

Officially they are still trying to decode the information contained in the planes’ flight data recorders and voice monitoring systems, the “black boxes” that are designed to provide information. Although the instruments were damaged, authorities have indicated that they still expect them to provide some data. How much, however, remains unclear.

In the absence of any hard evidence, the authorities appear reluctant to ascribe the fatal crashes to terrorists, but, as both planes left the same airport and went down within minutes of one another, it certainly remains a probability. The only other possible explanations – almost simultaneous human error and/or mechanical failure – would seem to stretch the idea of coincidence to the breaking point.

A report from the BBC indicates that most Russians are already convinced that the two incidents were caused by terrorists – most likely Chechens, aiming to disrupt Sunday’s scheduled elections.

This speculation has been heightened by the fact that, although all of the bodies have been recovered from the crash sites, several have not been clamed by any relatives.

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