Russian air crash: President Halimah, PM Lee send condolences

SINGAPORE • President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have written letters to their Russian counterparts to convey their condolences after a Saratov Airlines airplane crashed near Moscow on Sunday.

In the letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Madam Halimah wrote: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the crash of the Saratov Airlines plane on Feb 11, 2018, and the tragic loss of all passengers and crew on board."

On behalf of the people of Singapore, she expressed her deepest condolences to Mr Putin and the people of Russia.

"Our thoughts are with the families of the victims," she said.

In his letter to Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev, Mr Lee also expressed his deepest condolences.

"Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy during this difficult period," wrote Mr Lee.

On Monday, United States President Donald Trump called Mr Putin to offer his condolences over the disaster, Agence France-Presse reported.

Russian officials said Mr Trump and Mr Putin also discussed the Middle East peace process.

Investigators on Monday began examining the Russian passenger plane's black box, which contains the plane's flight data.

The aircraft crashed near Moscow minutes after taking off. All 71 people on board the plane died.

The Antonov AN-148 plane went down in a snow-covered field,which has made it difficult for emergency workers to access. They were forced to try and reach the wreckage by foot or on snowmobiles.

Rescuers went through deep snow in the search for body parts and debris after the disaster - which counts as the country's deadliest air crash since 2016.

The Russian Aviation Committee said the plane's black box was recovered on Monday.

It added that about 400 pieces of the plane have also been found, so far.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2018, with the headline 'Russian air crash: President Halimah, PM Lee send condolences'. Print Edition | Subscribe