Forty-one of the 53 bodies pulled from the Black Sea after an Armenian airliner crash have been identified, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin said yesterday, as Russia and Armenia observed a day of mourning for the 113 victims of the disaster.
A special diving vehicle was sent to the site of the crash, about 6km off the southern Russian resort of Sochi, to try to pinpoint the remains of the plane's fuselage on the sea floor.
Levitin said authorities were searching both in Russia and abroad for equipment to raise the fuselage, where some bodies are thought to be trapped.
"I want to say, for us the most important thing now is raising the bodies, because we understand that for the victims' relatives not raising the bodies or fragments would be an even bigger tragedy," Levitin told reporters.
He had said on Thursday that searchers had located a large part of the plane's fuselage that was emitting a radio signal believed to be from a flight recorder, and he later said a signal from the plane's other "black box" had been detected.