Armenian Passenger Plane Crashes in Black Sea, Killing 112

An Armenian passenger jet crashed in bad weather early Wednesday off the Black Sea coast shortly before it was to land in the Russian city of Sochi, killing all 112 people aboard, emergency officials said.

The Airbus A-320, which belonged to the Armenian airline Armavia, disappeared from radar screens just under 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the shore and crashed after making a turn and heading toward the Adler airport near Sochi, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said. Rescue officials in the ministry's southern regional branch said all 112 people aboard the plane, including five children, were killed.

Beltsov had said earlier that according to preliminary information, there were 113 people aboard. An Armavia representative in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, said the plane was carrying 95 passengers and eight crew.

Wreckage from the plane was found not far from the shoreline, Beltsov said. Search and rescue teams have pulled 11 bodies from the water, Beltsov said. Boats and divers were involved in the search.

The plane disappeared from radar screens at about 2:15 a.m. (2215 GMT Tuesday) during a flight from Yerevan to Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea in southern Russia, Beltsov said.

He said that the plane went down while trying to make a repeat attempt at an emergency landing.

The Armavia representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak with the media, said that the crew had communicated with Sochi ground controllers while the plane was flying over the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The ground controllers said there were poor weather conditions but the plane could still land, the representative said. Just before the landing, however, the ground controllers told the crew to make another circle in the air before approaching the airport. Then the plane crashed.

He said weather conditions were "certainly" the cause.