Russian plane crashes into Black Sea, all 92 killed

Russian plane crashes into Black Sea, all 92 killed
Source: BBC| Reuters
Date: 25-12-2016 Time: 10:12:55:am

A Russian military plane with 92 people on board has crashed into the Black Sea, Russia's defence ministry says.

The plane disappeared from radar two minutes after taking off from the resort of Sochi at 05:25 (02:25 GMT). Debris and several bodies have been found, with no reports of survivors.

The defence ministry said the Tu-154 was carrying soldiers, 64 members of the famed Alexandrov military music ensemble, and nine reporters.

It was flying to Latakia in Syria.

The flight originated in Moscow and had landed at Adler airport in Sochi for refuelling.

The defence ministry said in a statement: "Fragments of the Tu-154 plane of the Russian defence ministry were found 1.5km (one mile) from the Black Sea coast of the city of Sochi at a depth of 50 to 70m (165-230ft)."

Members of the Alexandrov Ensemble performing in Paris in 2015

Members of the Alexandrov Ensamble performing in Paris in 2015

An audio recording played on Russian media and said to be of the final conversation between air traffic controllers and the plane reveals no sign of any difficulties being faced by the crew.

Voices remain calm until the plane disappears and the controllers try in vain to re-establish contact.

Reports from the area said flying conditions were favourable.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered a state commission to look into the crash and sent his condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

Elizaveta Glinka with President Vladimir Putin, 8 Dec 2016

Fair Aid charity head Elizaveta Glinka, see here with President Putin, was on the plane

Debris from the plane is returned via a quay in Sochi

Debris from the plane is returned via a quay in Sochi

The defence ministry has published a passenger list (in Russian), showing that 64 of those on board were from the Alexandrov Ensemble, including its director, Valery Khalilov.

There were nine journalists, eight soldiers, two civil servants and eight crew members.

Also on board was Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr Liza, the executive director of the Fair Aid charity and the inaugural winner of Russia's state prize for achievements in human rights.

Mr Konashenkov said the plane was carrying passengers to a New Year's performance for Russian troops deployed in Syria.

The performance was scheduled to take place at Russia's Hmeimim air base, near Latakia.

Russia has been carrying out air strikes in support of Syrian government forces who are battling rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In April 2010, a Tu-154 plane crashed in Smolensk, western Russia, killing all 96 people on board, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

A Tu-154, operated by Siberian Airlines, was shot down over the Black Sea in October 2001, killing 78 people.

The plane was travelling from Tel Aviv in Israel to Novosibirsk in Russia, and most of the passengers were Israeli.

The Ukrainian military initially denied involvement but officials later admitted the plane could have been hit accidentally during a training exercise.

 

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