Russian investigators say the plane crash that killed 71 people near Moscow on February 11 could have been caused by speed gauges being iced up.
The Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) said on February 13 that preliminary tests and analyses indicated that the speed gauges could have been covered with ice and shown inaccurate data, suggesting that heating elements for the gauges were not switched on before the An-148 took off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport on a flight to the Urals city of Orsk.
According to MAK, the flight recorders found at the crash site showed that an emergency situation occurred aboard the Saratov Airlines plane 2 1/2 minutes after it took off.
The flight recorders indicated that the two gauges displayed different speeds before the crash, one rising rapidly while the other showed a speed of zero.
With the difference widening, it said, the crew apparently switched off the autopilot and returned to manually flying the plane, which hit the ground six minutes after takeoff.
The Emergency Situations Ministry said on February 13 that rescue teams continued to search for human remains scattered across a large area at the site, southeast of Moscow.