Conflicting reports and harsh weather conditions are making it harder for Russian authorities to discover how and why a plane crashed outside Moscow over the weekend, killing everyone on board.
The Antonov An-148 operated by Saratov Airlines dropped from radar screens on Sunday, shortly after leaving Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. The plane’s wreckage was found later in the day in the city outskirts, with all 71 passengers and crew dead.
But there is still no explanation as to what caused the jet to go down.
The rescue effort is over,” Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov said on Monday, noting that everyone on board can be confirmed dead, the Interfax news agency reported. “My sincere condolences to their families and friends.”
In the 24 hours after the crash, several conflicting reports have emerged as to its cause, with none yet considered the official explanation. The record breaking snowfalls in and around Moscow have complicated the investigation and Puchkov said the area of scattered wreckage was big and the heavy snow resulted in a “complicated ground profile.”
Russia’s Investigative Committee has said all suspected causes are on the table at this point, though press reports raised and subsequently rejected several alternate versions of events.