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Russia, Ukraine Conclude Missile Brought Down Airliner - 2001-10-12

Russian and Ukrainian investigators have concluded that a missile was responsible for bringing down a Siberian Airlines passenger plane on October 4, killing all 78 people on board.

Vladimir Rushailo, head of the commission investigating the crash, said the plane went down because it was hit by a missile. Yevhen Marchuk, the senior Ukrainian official on the commission, said he agreed with that conclusion and added the plane could have suffered an unintentional hit by an S-200 missile fired during Ukrainian air defense exercises.

At first, Ukraine denied it could have been responsible for the crash, but later acknowledged it was a possibility that would be looked into.

Almost from the beginning there have been indications that the crash was caused when a Ukrainian surface to air missile (electronically) locked onto the civilian passenger jet by mistake.

Thursday, investigators said they had found what looked like missile fragments in the wreckage of the airplane.

And more strong evidence that was the case came from Russian air traffic controllers. They said they heard the captain ask his crew, "Where are we hit?" in a frantic radio transmission just seconds after an explosion rocked the airplane.

Russian, Ukrainian and Israeli experts are continuing their investigation to determine the type of missile and its trajectory.

The plane was on a flight from Tel Aviv to the Siberian city of Novosibirsk when it crashed into the Black Sea. Most of those on board were Russian born Israeli citizens.