Iran Condoles with Russian Federation over Plane Crash

Tracy FergusonDec 26, 2016

Mourners gathered Sunday outside the Moscow headquarters of the Alexandrov Ensemble to honor the victims of a plane crash that killed 94 people including 60 male members of the ensemble, better known internationally as the Red Army Choir. They were going to Syria to perform a New Year's concert for troops. Weather also seems to be out as a possible explanation and Russia's RIA news agency cites an unnamed source saying that preliminary data suggests a technical malfunction was to blame.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation into the reasons and will do everything to support the victims' families", Putin said.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia deployed Russian armed forces in Syria in September 2015, ostensibly to fight terrorism but primarily to prop up President Bashar Assad of Syria, the leader of the lone remaining Russian ally in the region, whose forces have been fighting an insurgency for almost six years. In earlier reports, it placed the number at around 70.

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- September 1, 2006: A Tu-154 jetliner operated by Iran's Airtour skids off the runway and catches fire while landing in the northern city of Mashad, Iran, killing 29 of 147 passengers.

Nine Russian journalists, including a TV crew from Channel One, were also on board.

Magomed Tolboyev, a decorated Russian test pilot, said the circumstances of the crash indicated that all on board had died. Although the full choir includes dozens of singers, dancers, and orchestra members this trip only consisted of singers and a few dancers since the performances in Syria were meant to be a cappella for the most part. Officials of the committee said that investigators were now interrogating the technical personnel responsible for preparing the plane for take-off. The last fix was performed on two years ago, according to flight records, and the airplane underwent scheduled maintenance in September, the Defense Ministry said.

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The missing aircraft is a Tu-154, a Soviet-designed three-engine airliner.

On April 10, 2010, a Tu-154 carrying Polish president Lech Kaczynski and other top Polish officials came down in fog near the Russian city of Smolensk, and all 96 people on board perished.

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