Black box missing from crashed Russian plane: report

9th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A black box from a passenger jet which crash landed at Moscow's Domodedovo airport at the weekend has still not been found, Kommersant newspaper reported Thursday, amid suspicion that it has been stolen.

Two black boxes that register flight data were recovered by crash investigators, but a third, which records flight crew conversations with the control tower, is still missing five days after the accident, the paper said.

A criminal investigation may be launched if the missing black box is not found, it said.

Two passengers were killed when the Tupolev-154, with a total of 169 people aboard, crash landed and broke into three sections beyond the runway. More than 80 passengers were injured.

The Dagestan Airlines plane took off Saturday from Moscow's Vnukovo airport for Makhachkala, but minutes into the flights the pilot reported two of its three engines had failed.

The crash happened as the plane was attempting to make an emergency landing at Domodedovo south of Moscow.

The plane was manufactured in 1992, but the carrier said it was in perfect condition after a 2009 refit.

The Tu-154 became the staple passenger jet of the Soviet Union after it went into production in 1954, but its safety reputation has been tarnished by a number of accidents in recent years.

The April 10 crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski and top officials near the Russian city of Smolensk also involved a Tu-154.

Russia's regional and charter companies often use old, fuel-inefficient planes although the country's larger airlines have renovated their fleets and fly predominantly Western aircraft.

© 2010 AFP

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