Notes From Hairenik

I just received word from a friend of mine living in California that a plane en route to Sochi from Yerevan crashed into the Black Sea at approximately 3:30 am, when the plane disappeared from radar screens. There were approximately 113 people on board, including the crew. Everyone is believed to be dead.

The plane was an Airbus A320 and operated by Armavia Airlines, which from what I understand was renting the plane, but from where I am not certain. This I believe is the first such plane crash in the Armenian republic's 15 year history, although I may be mistaken. So far bad weather may be to blame for the crash although nothing related to the cause of the crash is certain as of this writing. Russian emergency crews scrambled to the area shortly after hearing about the crash.

Debris has already been found along the coast of the Black Sea. Sochi is a Russian coastal city and a popular vacation resort, to which thousands of Armenians travel each year. Just after the 1988 earthquake thousands of people from Vanadzor, including my wife's family, and undoubtedly other towns in northern Armenia located along the fault line were sent by the Soviet government to Sochi by train in order to live until things were brought to some order back home.

This news is a shock for sure. It will be a difficult time not just for the victim's families but for Armenians here in general. Although this speculation may not be that important Armavia's business will undoubtedly be affected as well. I daresay tourism by Armenians traveling outside the country will also suffer as a result, albeit temporarily.

A more detailed report can be read on CNN online.