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Pilot 'Disorientation' Reported As Probable Cause Of Russian Air Crash That Killed 92

The December crash of a Russian military passenger jet plane that killed 92 people, including members of a renowned army musical ensemble, was likely caused by pilot disorientation, Russian media have reported.

Russian state news agency TASS quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying an investigative commission set up after the crash found that it "could have been caused by spatial disorientation [situational unawareness] of the pilot."

TASS reported that the commission, composed of officials from the Defense Ministry, transport agencies, and the Tupolev aircraft manufacturer, ruled out the possibility that safety violations or "external factors" caused the crash.

Russian officials had previously said there was no evidence of an explosion on board the Defense Ministry Tu-154 when it crashed in the Black Sea about a minute after takeoff from Sochi on December 25, killing all on board.

Among the dead were members of the Aleksandrov Ensemble, widely known as the Red Army Choir, who were to perform at a Russian air base in Syria. The head of a Russian charity, Yelizaveta Glinka, known as Dr. Liza, was also killed.

Based on reporting by AP and TASS

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