VLADIVOSTOK: The Russian Pacific Fleet suspended on Saturday all flights of its naval aviation following the crash of a Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance plane in Russia’s Far East, the fleet spokesman said.
A Tu-142M3 Bear-F plane reportedly went down during a combat training flight around 21:19 local time (11:19 GMT) on Friday some 20 kilometers (12 miles) offshore in the Tatar Strait, which separates mainland Russia from the island of Sakhalin.
“A special commission is investigating the causes of the crash of the plane, which had 11 people on board. The flights have been suspended until the investigation is complete. The search for the missing crew is still underway,” the spokesman said.
According to preliminary data, the crash was caused by a technical failure.
The official confirmed that the remains of the plane were found on Saturday morning at the depth of about 44 meters (144 feet).
A Russian Defense Ministry source earlier said that the Navy would deploy, if necessary, the advanced Pantera and Kalmar robotic deep-water rescue vehicles to recover the plane’s on-board recording devices.
Tu-142M3 is a Russian maritime reconnaissance/anti-submarine warfare (ASW) turboprop aircraft. It is a modified version of the Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber.
According to open sources, Russia’s Pacific Fleet has at least eight Tu-142M3 aircraft in service.