A Russian plane carrying 92 people after taking off from the city of Sochi. The plane was going to an air base in Syria. It crashed into the Black Sea.
There are apparently no survivors according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Those on board included dozens of members of Russia’s world-famous army choir. Also on board were 9 Russian journalists and a Russian doctor famous for her work in war zones.
The cause of the crash is not known. One expert a terrorist attack as a possibility but that scenario was rejected by Russian officials.
“I rule out version of the terror attack completely. It is the aircraft of the Ministry of Defense, the airspace of the Russian Federation, there cannot be such a version,” Ozerov is quoted as saying. “The plane had to make a U-turn after takeoff over the sea (and) may (have taken) the wrong direction.”
There were 84 passengers and 8 crew members on the Tu-154 plane when it disappeared from radar after it took off in good weather.
The plane was manufactured in 1983 and had 6,689 hours of flight. “The last repair was on December 29, 2014, and in September 2016 it underwent scheduled maintenance,” the ministry said..
The ministry identified the pilot as Roman Volkov, who it said was a “class 1 pilot” with more than 3,000 flying hours.
Emergency crews found fragments of the plane about 1.5 kilometers, which is less than a mile, from shore and by Sunday afternoon rescue teams had already recovered 10 bodies.
The Defense Ministry’s plane was taking the Alexandrov Ensemble to a New Year’s concert at Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s costal province of Latakis.
President Vladimir Putin went on TV and declared Monday as a day of nationwide mourning.