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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Hunt for Armenia air crash bodies
A policeman passes between the tail of the Armavia Airbus A320 plane and some belongings of the dead passengers at the dock of the port in Sochi
Some 113 people were killed in the plane crash
Bad weather is slowing recovery of the bodies of 113 people killed when a plane flying from Armenia to southern Russia crashed into the Black Sea.

The Airbus A320 crashed at about 0215 local time (2215 GMT) as it made a second attempt to land at an airport near the Russian resort town of Sochi.

It was initially refused permission to land because of poor weather, which investigators blame for the crash.

All aboard died, but 46 bodies have been recovered from the water so far.

Both Russia and Armenia have declared a day of mourning on 5 May, the Kremlin said.

I was waiting for a call from my mother that she had arrived OK. But she did not phone, so I phoned myself and heard that this accident had happened
Khapet Tadevosyan
Victim's relative

Russian television showed footage of small boats returning to shore with debris that they had picked up from the crash scene.

Emergency teams have discovered baggage, life jackets, body parts and wreckage at the spot where the aircraft plunged into the water.

More than 20 vessels are involved in the recovery operation, but weather conditions are preventing the use of aircraft.

'Disappeared from radar'

The plane had been making a short flight of about an hour from the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

Reports said it was carrying 85 Armenian citizens, 26 Russians, one Georgian and one Ukrainian. Among those on board were eight crew and six children.

According to a Russian emergency official, the aircraft "disappeared from radar screens as it was making another emergency landing attempt".

"It plunged into the sea at an angle of 60 degrees," Viktor Beltsov said.

Armavia, the airline which owned the plane, says that it was in good condition and that the crew were experienced.

The Airbus was manufactured in 1995 and underwent checks last month.

Criminal probe

Terrorism has been ruled out as a cause of the disaster, the Russian prosecutor-general's office said.

Criminal proceedings have been launched to investigate whether a violation of air traffic procedures led to loss of life.

Sochi is a popular Russian seaside resort, near the border with Georgia.

Stunned relatives sat quietly awaiting news at Adler airport just outside Sochi and at the airport in Yerevan.

"I was waiting for a call from my mother that she had arrived OK. But she did not phone, so I phoned myself and heard that this accident had happened," Khapet Tadevosyan, 32, told Reuters news agency as he stood in the Yerevan airport building.

"She flew to Sochi to see her sisters, whom she hadn't seen for 15 years," he said.

Rescuers try to lift plane wreckage from the sea

Air disasters timeline
03 May 06 |  Europe

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