.- Pope John Paul II expressed his grief over the double-air disaster, which took place in Russia Aug. 24 and left 98 dead, in a telegram that was sent to the apostolic nuncio in Moscow yesterday.
The two planes left Moscow airport Tuesday morning and both dropped off the radar at around the same time. One plane crashed 200 km south of Moscow in the region of Tula; the other plane came down 800-km further south, near Rostov-on-Don. Russian authorities have issued an investigation. The possibility of terrorism has not been ruled out entirely.
Angelo Cardinal Sodano, the Vaticanâs Secretary of State, sent the telegram on the pontiffâs behalf.
In it, the Pope charges the nuncio, Bishop Antonio Mennini, with expressing his âsentiments of great sorrowâ to the Russian authorities and to the families of the victims.
The Pope said he is praying for the deceased and that âGod will comfort those who suffer this great loss of their loved ones.â