ITAR-TASS News Agency
TASS
May 8, 2006 Monday 01:21 PM EST

A-320 tragedy victims' relatives to lay wreaths at crash scene

SOCHI


The relatives of the passengers who died in the Armenian Airbus-320
plane crash off Sochi last week will lay wreaths at the scene of the
accident on May 9.

Of 113 crash victims, 51 bodies have been found so far. On the fifth
day after the crash, specialists say chances that the others will be
found are quite small.

The Airbus A-320 of the Armenian airline Armavia plunged into the
Black Sea as it was making a landing manoeuvre in the early hours of
May 3.

Meanwhile, the search for the flight recorders from the plane is
continuing despite rough seas.

``Specialists will be examining the bottom at the place where the
plane crashed with the help of sonar till night. French specialists
will sail off into the sea tomorrow morning, at 7 a.m. Moscow time.
They have already arrived in Sochi with equipment for a more precise
search,'' an official at the search operation headquarters told
Itar-Tass on Monday.

The specialists plan to examine the seabed at a death of 450-800
metres where a large number of the plane's fragments and the ``black
boxes'' are lying.

The area where the debris are scattered is quite big and the French
equipment will help to distinguish between the plane's fragments and
personal belongings of the passengers.

Earlier, a deep-water apparatus, Kalmar, traced four unidentified
objects at the crash scene at the depth of 450 meters.

``Four objects have been traced at the depth of 450 meters. They are
being identified. The objects were found by a hydro-radar system of
the Kalmar apparatus operated from the Zaliv towboat,'' Sergei
Biryukov, Executive Director of the company Tetis Pro that designed
the apparatus, told Itar-Tass.

Flight recorders used on aircraft of the Airbus-320 type withstand
the depth of up to 6,000 meters for 30 days, experts from the French
air crash investigation bureau said on Sunday.

They said that flight recorders' radio beacons keep working during
the 30-day period.

One of the flight recorders registers flight parameters, including
the speed, height and direction of the flight and the autopilot
operation, each second. The other gadget records conversations in the
cockpit.

Each flight recorder weighs 10 kilograms, including a seven-kilogram
armoured casing for the gadget. The casing can withstand water
pressure at a depth of 6,000 meters, the temperature of 1,100 degrees
Celsius, and the compression of 2.2 tonnes.

The French experts think that flight recorders from the Armenian
Airbus-320 are lying at a depth of 680 meters.

The bureau retrieved flight recorders from the depth of over 1,000
meters in the Red Sea in January 2004, when an Egyptian plane crashed
near the Sharm-el-Sheikh resort. The rescuers were using a Scorpio
deep-water apparatus.

A technical commission investigating the Sochi air crash, which is
led by the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee, has asked French
experts to help find A-320 flight recorders.

Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin said, ``The Frenchmen have
appropriate equipment and they are ready to quickly bring it to the
crash scene.''