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25 August 2004 -- Russian authorities are tightening security at airports after two Russian airliners crashed at nearly the same time late yesterday.
A Tu-154 jet carrying some 50 people en route to Sochi crashed in the southern Rostov region about 900 kilometers south of Moscow. A Tu-134 -- carrying around 43 people -- crashed in the Tula region, about 200 kilometers south of Moscow. It was flying to Volgograd.
There were reportedly no survivors.
The cause of the crashes is unclear. Both planes had taken off within one hour of each other from the same Moscow airport. The Tu-154 reportedly sent out a distress signal before crashing. The Tu-134 apparently broke up in the air.
President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Federal Security Service (FSB) to investigate.
"Several versions are being considered. The main version is violation of civil aircraft regulations. A terrorist act is also being considered as a possible cause, but there has been no evidence found up to this moment that it was a terrorist act," said Sergei Ignatchenko, the head of the FSB's press office.
Search teams have recovered wreckage from both planes and at least one flight data recorder.
Speaking to journalists in Moscow today, Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said: "Regarding the TU-154 near Tula, one of the flight recorders has been found in good condition and the search for the second flight recorder is ongoing and practically all the bodies of those who perished have been found."