Mysterious plane crashes in Russia

08.25.04

Two planes crashed simultaneously just outside Moscow early this morning. The immediate thought of much of the world was terrorism, but now reports are saying there’s no sign of it:

Russian officials say they have not found any signs of terrorism in the near-simultaneous crashes of two passenger jets.

The planes crashed within minutes of each other Tuesday night after taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, killing all aboard.

No sign? Not exactly:

“Siberia Airlines does not exclude the possibility that the Tu-154 plane crash was caused by a terrorist attack,” the airline’s statement said.

“This is supported not only by the circumstances of the two air disasters taking place at the same time, but also by the telegram received by the Siberia Airlines Flight Control Center from the watch commander of the military sector of the main center of the Russian Unified System of Air Traffic Control just after the planes disappeared from radar screens.”

The telegram, the airline said, noted that the two airplanes “simultaneously disappeared in Moscow and Rostov zonal centers. A hijacking warning alarm went off on one of the planes. I request the airport personnel to be more vigilant during passenger screening and boarding the plane.”

If it was terrorism, so far there have been no claims of responsibility. Chechen rebels are one possibility; Al Qua’eda is of course another. Of course, it could have just been an accident… but the coincidence seems implausible:

Investigators said it was extremely unlikely for two planes to crash on the same day due to accidental causes.

But FSB officials conceded they had not found any concrete evidence that the crashes were due to terrorist acts. The wreckage at both crash sites appeared to rule out acts of sabotage, officials said.

In the meantime, Ha’aretz reports that two of the killed passangers were Israeli citizens living in Russia. That part is almost certainly just a coincidence. Though I wonder if we’ll hear any wacked-out conspiracy theories about “3,000 Israelis who didn’t get on the flight” in the coming days.

I also wonder, if this turns out to be terrorism, if Vladimir Putin will be called before committee hearings to try to determine why he didn’t act to prevent it.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Malia 08.25.04 at 11:13 PM

I just know it was those damn Hare Krishnas!

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2 DaninVan 08.26.04 at 2:56 PM

I thought it was just the airports they terrorized?

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