On Christmas Day, a plane carrying 92 passengers crashed into the Black Sea. Aboard the plane were members of Alexandrov Ensemble, who were traveling to Khmeimim Air Base in Syria, and nine journalists from Ostankino television center who were accompanying the choir, according to the New York Times.
There were 68 performers and staff members of the choir aboard the plane when it crashed. Lt. Gen. Viktor N. Bondarev said that the Russian Air Force has identified where the plane likely entered the water shortly after it took off from the southwestern city of Sochi.
— IIHF WJC (@iihf_wjc) December 27, 2016
Transportation minister Maxim Soklov said that the plane was traveling to a military base in Syria near Latakia for a New Year’s Eve celebration. He said that while terrorism remained a possibility, it seemed unlikely.
“In order to organize our work, we need to understand what happened,” Mr. Sokolov said at the news conference. “As far as we know, the main versions do not include the terrorist act, so we base our work on the premise that technical malfunction or pilot’s error caused the catastrophe.”
A Defense Ministry committee and criminal investigators will be responsible for determining what exactly caused the plane to go down in the ocean. According to general Bondarev, the plane was safe to fly and the pilot was experienced.
Russia’s transport minister says pilot error or technical fault likely to blame for Sunday’s plane crash – AP https://t.co/cve6qwJTs2
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) December 26, 2016
“The plane was technically fit,” General Bondarev said. “The pilot was well prepared.”
On Monday, there were 45 ships and 135 divers involved in the search and the team had recovered 11 bodies and multiple body parts that were being sent back to Russia for identification.
The plane had originally taken off from an airfield near Moscow, but had stopped in Sochi to refuel before taking off for Syria.
As Russia mourned the loss of those aboard the plane, a member of the California Democratic Party was upset that more Russian military personnel weren’t killed by the plane crash.
According to Cassandra Fairbanks of WeAreChange.org, Hussam Ayloush tweeted that he wished the plane was carrying the 180-passenger maximum rather than just the 92 that were on board.
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) December 26, 2016
Ayloush is also the executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islam Relations and this isn’t the first time that he’s taken to Twitter to cause a stir.
Last year, Ayloush blamed the United States for the terrorist attack in San Bernardino where 14 people were killed.
“Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism,” Ayloush told CNN following the attack.
All possible causes for Russia plane crash are being considered, including a terror attack: authorities https://t.co/EP24GG1Lz4
— TIME (@TIME) December 25, 2016
Hussam also tweeted in Arabic the day after Donald Trump was elected president that the United States should overthrow the government. In addition, Ayloush said in 2004 that the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center was the fault of the United States because of their support of Israel.
If all of that wasn’t enough, Hassam Ayloush believes that Islam must beat out all other religions.
“He (Allah) is the one who has sent His messenger Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, with the guidance, the guidance of Islam, and the true religion, the religion of Islam, so it may prevail over all ideologies, all man-made religions,” Ayloush said at a banquet in 2008.
Ayloush has since deleted the tweet about the Sochi plane crash saying, “Deleted an earlier tweet I posted abt a Russian military jet that crashed on way to Syria before knowing it included non-combatants.”
[Featured Image by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images]