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Explosives Found in Russian Jet Wreckage

This seems obvious but I still have some questions.

Explosives Found in Russian Jet Wreckage

MOSCOW -- Traces of explosives have been found in the wreckage of one of two Russian airliners that crashed nearly simultaneously earlier this week, the Federal Security Service said Friday, a day after a top official acknowledged that terrorism was most likely behind the crashes.

A Web site known for militant Muslim comment, meanwhile, published a claim of responsibility for downing the two planes, connecting the action to Russia's fight against separatists in Chechnya.

A spokesman for the security agency, Nikolai Zakharov, said on Russian television that preliminary analysis shows traces of "hexogen" were found in the shattered Tu-154 jetliner that crashed in southern Russia.

Hexogen is the explosive that officials said was used in the 1999 apartment bombings that killed some 300 people in Russia and were blamed on Chechen separatists.

I still doubt everything I hear from the region. Russian leaders have come out and said there were no signs of terrorism. They also said they found the black boxes within hours of the crash in a debris field more than 30 miles long. A pretty impressive feat if true.

Multiple witnesses report explosions while the plane was in the air. That can be discounted because people always claim they've heard explosions in mid-air even after investigations prove otherwise. Still, multiple people report 3 mid-air explosions, so it bears investigation. A 30 mile debris field is consistent with a mid-air explosion.

With the state of news in the region we may never get the full story.


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Comments (3)

I know what you mean, Russi... (Below threshold)
David C:

I know what you mean, Russia still has a lot of deeply, deeply ingrained habits from the old days, including a reflexive tendency toward secrecy and coverup (for a recent example, see their nuclear submarine accident from a while back.)

And in crash investigations and the like, whatever the country, there's always the possibility for severe miscommunication between scientifically-oriented investigators and the not-so-fact-oriented media. Even if there isn't a language problem. For instance, if an investigator says "there are no signs of terrorism" shortly after an accident, he may mean precisely what he says, and could add just as truthfully, "there are no signs it *wasn't* terrorism."

Realistically, how could it... (Below threshold)

Realistically, how could it be anything but terrorism? Two planes go down within minutes of each other; just speaking as a matter of probability, that is near-impossible, with the very impressive safety record for air travel.

Well, an early "maybe there... (Below threshold)
David C:

Well, an early "maybe there was a problem with the fuel" theory was plausible (though probably easy enough to rule out quickly through investigation, which it seems they did.)

I suppose some common fault in airport maintenance could be a potential cause too. (And such a fault could be terrorism, actually - something like poor security and/or bribery letting someone get in and plant bombs on two planes while "performing maintenance.")

But generally, yeah, hard to see much else. It was like 9/11, when I heard the report of the first crash, my initial thought was of a small plane and "Hmm, that's odd, kinda like that bomber that hit the Empire State Building back in WWII. Wonder how that could've happened." After the second one, though, it was obvious.

On these crashes, the main question I have is whether just blowing up two passenger planes was the *goal*, or whether there was some larger 9/11-esque plan that was foiled somehow.




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