Flight recorder of Russian military plane TU-154 retrieved from Black Sea

Flight recorder of Russian military plane TU-154 retrieved from Black Sea

MOSCOW, Dec. 27 : The main flight recorder of the Russian military Tu-154 aircraft that crashed Sunday into the Black Sea has been retrieved from the wreckage, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

In the next few hours, the recorder, also known as the black box, would be delivered to the Central Research Institute of the Russian Air Force near Moscow for specialists to decode, the ministry said in a statement.

The search operation in the crash area continued on Tuesday involving 45 ships, 15 submersibles, 12 planes and five helicopters. Over 3,500 people are currently participating in the mission, including 192 divers, the ministry said.

So far, 12 bodies and 156 pieces of body parts have been found and delivered to Moscow for identification, according to the ministry.

At a distance of 1,700 meters off the shore and at a depth of about 30 meters, pieces of the wreckage have also been found, including parts of the fuselage, engines, as well as various mechanisms and units, it said, adding that this debris has been transferred to the investigating authorities.

The ill-fated Tu-154, en route to Russia’s Hmeimin air base in the Syrian port city of Latakia, crashed shortly after takeoff from the Black Sea resort city of Sochi early Sunday morning.

Ninety-two people — 84 passengers and eight crew members — were aboard the plane. Most of them were members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, a renowned choir of the Russian Armed Forces, as well as nine Russian journalists. They were heading to the air base for New Year celebrations.