Russian military plane crashes near Sochi, 92 people dead

The ministry said the plane was carrying the famous Alexandrov military band for a concert at the Russian air base in Syria. A total of 83 passengers and eight crew were on board when the plane dropped off radar early Sunday. Emergency services are searching for the plane, a Soviet-designed three-engine airliner, the ministry said. Nine journalists were among the passengers, according to the Interfax news agency.

Russian military plane crashes near Sochi, 92 people dead

A Russian Tu-154 aircraft with 92 people aboard, including a famed military band on the way to Syria, disappeared on Sunday over the Black Sea shortly after takeoff from the resort town of Sochi, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement. The defense ministry plane disappeared from the radar at 05.40 am Moscow time shortly after taking off from Sochi. The debris of the plane was found 1.5 km from the coast near Sochi at the depth of 50-70 metres.


The ministry said the plane was carrying the famous Alexandrov military band for a concert at the Russian air base in Syria. A total of 84 passengers and eight crew were on board when the plane dropped off radar early Sunday. Emergency services are searching for the plane, a Soviet-designed three-engine airliner, the ministry said.
Nine journalists were among the passengers, according to the Interfax news agency.

The list of passengers was published on the Defence Ministry’s website. There were 92 people on the plane, including journalists, servicemen, and musicians of the famous Alexandrov ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian armed forces, who flew to congratulate the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria with the New Year.

Executive Director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Fair Aid) charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr. Liza, was on the list of the passengers. A law enforcement source told TASS, "Dr. Liza was at the Chkalovsky airport at 23.00 yesterday and said that she was departing and would be in Latakia in the morning." He said that Dr. Liza planned to visit the Tishrin hospital in downtown Latakia where she was last time some six months ago.

A commission of Russia’s Defence Ministry led by Deputy Defence Minister Pavel Popov has departed to the Black Sea resort of Adler in the wake of the Tu-154 military plane crash. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the situation. He receives information from the emergencies services on the search effort. Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu is also in constant contact with the president.