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Armenian jet crashes in sea off South Russia coast

Written by: Staff

Moscow, May 3: An Armenian airliner carrying 113 people crashed into the sea off Russia's southern coast today, and rescue workers found a first body at the site, officials and local media said.

A spokesman for the emergencies ministry told local news agencies rescue workers had also found baggage, body parts, pieces of the shattered plane and oil floating on the Black Sea at the site of the crash.

''The fragments were found six km (4 miles) from the shore near the airport of Adler. The search operation continues,'' Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.

Beltsov said the plane was an Airbus 320 and had vanished from radar screens at 2.15 a.m. (0345 hrs) near Sochi, a Russian resort near the Georgian border that has been popular with top officials since Soviet times.

The ministry said the aircraft belonged to Armavia, the largest airline in the former Soviet Republic of Armenia, which has three Airbus 320s of the kind that crashed.

The plane was carrying at least five children. Heavy rain and poor visibility were complicating the search for survivors.

Adler is the name of the region of Sochi that houses the town's airport.

Armavia was not available for comment, and its Web site did not give any information about the crash.


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