113 Killed in Russian Plane Crash

An Armenian passenger plane crashed in stormy weather Wednesday off Russia's Black Sea coast while readying to land, killing all 113 people on board - most of them Armenians.

Rough seas, driving rain and low visibility were hampering the search, Russian news agencies reported. A deep-sea robot was to be used to try to recover the plane's flight data recorder, or "black box," though Rudolf Teymurazov of the Intergovernmental Aviation Committee expressed doubt it could be found since the plane crashed in water up to 1 1/4 miles deep.

Agadzhanov said the airline's deputy general director, Vyacheslav Yaralov, had been aboard. He said the crew was experienced and bad weather "certainly" was the cause.

The Airbus A-320 was manufactured in 1995 and was being leased by the airline. The aircraft underwent full-scale servicing a year ago.

Armavia is Armenia's largest airline. It is 70 percent owned by Russia's second-largest airline, Sibir, and it acquired routes from Armenian Airlines and Armenian International Airlines when those operations experienced financial troubles.

Two Sochi-bound Russian planes crashed in August 2004, one near the central city of Tula and the other in the Rostov region, when alleged Chechen terrorists detonated bombs on board. Ninety people were killed.


Associated Press reporters Avet Demourian in Yerevan, Armenia, and Sergei Venyavsky in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, contributed to this report.

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