Russian Military Plane Carrying 92 Crashes in Black Sea

One body has been found after a Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including a well-known military band, crashed on its way to Syria, The Independent reports.

Rescuers also found personal documents belonging to some of those on board, the Russian defence ministry said.

There was no word of survivors.

Earlier, a rescue team found fragments of the Tu-154 plane, which the Russian Defence Ministry said had disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The plane was carrying Russian servicemen and members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, who were being flown into Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria to entertain military personnel in the run-up to the new year.

The plane was carrying 84 passengers and eight crew members. Nine Russian reporters were among the passengers, agencies said.

Initial reports suggested 91 passengers were on the plane.

The ministry said rescue teams found fragments of the plane at a distance of about 1.5 kilometres (less than a mile) from shore, at a depth of 50-70 metres.

Russia’s RIA news agency, citing an unidentified security source, said preliminary data indicated that the plane had crashed because of a technical malfunction or a pilot error.

The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source as saying the plane had not sent an SOS signal.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters it was too early to say what had caused the crash. President Vladimir Putin was being kept informed of latest developments, Mr Peskov added.

Russia’s Defence Ministry regularly flies musicians into Syria to put on concerts for military personnel. The base they were heading for, Hmeymim, is in Latakia province, from where Russia flies air strikes against Syrian rebels.

Earlier in December, another Russian Defence Ministry crashed in Siberia with 39 people on board as it tried to make an emergency landing near a Soviet-era military base. Nobody was killed, though 32 people were airlifted to hospital.


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