Russian Military Tu-154 plane Crashes in Black Sea
Sunday, 25 December 2016

Russian air traffic controllers have lost contact with a Tu-154 airliner with 91 people on board, which disappeared from radar shortly after take-off in Sochi, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement.

Ninety-one people were on board the aircraft, including 83 passengers and eight crew members, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The plane took off from Sochi Adler Airport on a “planned flight” and failed to check in with the control tower at 5:40am Moscow time, the ministry said, adding that all rescue services in the region have been deployed to search for the missing plane.

"According to preliminary data, a Russian Defense Ministry Tu-154 disappeared from radar screens after departing from Sochi," a source in the country's Emergencies Ministry told RIA Novosti earlier.

Nine journalists along with musicians from the army choir of the Russian Armed Forces, the Alexandrov Ensemble, were aboard the plane, the ministry confirmed. The musicians were due to take part in a New Year's concert at the Russian airbase in Latakia, Syria.

“Alexandrov Ensemble singers made up the majority of the missing passengers of the Tu-154,” a defense source told RIA, adding that 90 members of the choir were supposed to be flown to Syria on two Russian military planes.

Update: Debris from the plane has been found at a depth of 50-70 meters, 1.5 kilometers from the Sochi shore, the information department of the Russian Defense Ministry stated.

The crash happened while the plane was ascending, and the crew didn't signal anything was wrong, a source told Interfax.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed about the situation, and is following the search and rescue, TASS news agency reports.


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