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  Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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The third stage of the search operation is under way at the A-320 airliner crash site in the Black Sea near Sochi
The third stage of the search operation is under way at the A-320 airliner crash site in the Black Sea near Sochi. According to the operational headquarters, the third, final, stage of the operation has been continuing day and night in the area where the Armenian airbus crashed. Groups of searchers are on duty there for eight hours and replace each other. The strong side wind that impeded the operation subsided at about midnight to Wednesday. The deep-water robot device sank to the seabed during the period from 01:00 till 06:00 on Wednesday to search for the airliner recorders. Silt on the bottom complicates the work. The video camera and the searchlights get dirty, and the team has to raise the robot to clean them. Its sinking takes 40 minutes, and it takes the same time to raise it, a source in the operational headquarters told Itar-Tass. The search groups had a break in the work for some time on Wednesday morning. If the weather does not worsen, the search will continue. The rescue vessel Kapitan Beklemishev delivered the RT-1000 robot from Novorossiisk to Sochi on Monday. The robot did not participate in such operations before. It raised only geological samples weighing up to 20 kilogrammes and did not work at such depths. The device is capable to lift fragments of the plane weighing up to 12 kilogrammes and the two flight recorders, each weighing seven kilogrammes, said the Russian sea and river transport department's head Alexander Davydenko. The RT-1000 is a system consisting of control and lifting equipment and the apparatus itself with photo and video equipment and a hydraulic manipulator operating in all directions. According to reports, the flight recorders are at the depth of 496 metres. The distance between them is about five metres. The Armavia airline A-320 airbus fell into the sea on May 3 when approaching Sochi's airport in an attempt to land. The crash killed 113 people. The operation to raise the fight recorders resumed late on Tuesday night when the wind subsided. The vessel Navigator with the robot aboard remained at the area on Wednesday morning, the operational headquarters said. On Tuesday, the strong side wind blew off the Navigator from the site and did not allow resuming the work on the bottom. The operation to find and raise the recorders may last three days.
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