Terrorism Suggested In Russian Crash

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Officials of Sibir Airlines, Russia's number-two carrier, appear to be suggesting a suicide bomber brought down a Tu-154 in one of two almost-simultaneous airliner crashes on Tuesday. The airline released a statement saying its pilot triggered a hijack transponder alert just before the crash. "The message was generated right before all contact was lost with the plane and it disappeared from radar screens," the statement read. The airline also said the wide distribution of wreckage suggested the plane exploded in midair. But there were no problems reported on a Volga Aviaexpress Tu-134 that took off from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport about an hour after the Tu-154. The planes crashed within minutes of one another about 500 miles apart. The Tu-154 crashed near Rostov-on-don in southern Russia and the Tu-134 went down near Tula, south of Moscow. Russian authorities aren't confirming the hijack or terrorism angle but the FSB security service is investigating the crash, something it wouldn't normally do unless terrorism is involved. Chechen rebels who have been fighting Russian occupation of their homeland have denied responsibility for the crashes.