Chechen women passengers carrying or wearing explosive are believed to have brought down the Tupolev Tu-154 and Tu-134 on 24 August, says the Russian ministry of transport (Flight International, 31 August-6 September), writes Paul Duffy.

It is unclear how they were able to take the explosives on board. Moscow Domodedovo airport, from which both the Sibir Airlines Tu-154 and Volga-AviaExpress Tu-134 took off, has modern security equipment but it does not scan passengers' bodies for explosives.

Wreckage studies indicate that the explosive was detonated in the rears of both aircraft, as the wreckage spreads show that the tail sections fell well away from the rest of the airframe. The loss of control appears to have been so fast that, although the Tu-154 crew had time to set the hijack code on its transponder and the cockpit voice recorder indicates the crew survived the initial blast, no emergency calls were made.

Source: Flight International