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Lightning Probable Cause of Russian Airplane Crash
170 Lives Lost

August, 2006

Investigating officials believe that lightning was the cause of a fatal Russian plane crash that caused 170 people, including 45 children to loose their lives.

The plane was flying from the Russian Black Sea resort of Anapa to St. Petersburg when it crashed over eastern Ukraine.

The crew of flight FV 612 sent out a distress signal and two minutes later disappeared from the radar screens. It is believed that the airplane encountered a severe thunderstorm.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a large ball of flame and thick smoke as the jet seemed to hang in the air before hurdling to the ground.

Fragments of the Tu-154 jet were scattered across a gully and wooded area near the village of Sukha Balka. A burnt-out engine lay in a field and chunks of fuselage jutted out of a clearing. Debris was scattered over an area the size of a soccer field.

Search teams have recovered the black boxes that contain voice recorders and important data. Investigators stress that it is still too early to make any conclusions about the accident. However, a lightning strike has not been ruled out.

This was the second deadly crash involving a Russian airliner in the past two months. Back in July, 122 people died when their airbus skidded of a runway while landing in Siberia.

Above Photo credit: VICTORIA SINISTRA/AFP/Getty Images

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