Engine failure could have caused last week's crash of a Russian naval anti-submarine Tupolev Tu-142M3 plane with 11 people on board in the country's Far East, according to a top defence official.
"So far engine failure is blamed, but the commission will complete the probe and establish the facts," Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
After the Friday's crash in Tatar Strait dividing mainland Russia from the Far East island of Sakhalin, the Russian Navy has grounded its Tu-142M3 (NATO codename Bear-Mod4) long-range maritime patrol aircraft in service with the Pacific and Northern fleets.
A large rescue ship has been sent into the area with diving robots to recover the flight recorders of the ill-fated aircraft, which was returning to home base after routine training sortie and the crew had not reported any trouble.
The Indian Navy also has about 10 such aircraft for long-range maritime patrolling and keeping a watch on the movement of submarines, which were acquired from the former Sovite Union in 1988.
The exact cause of the crash could be established only after black boxes (flight recorders) from the plane are found, naval experts in Moscow say.