Update: ‘No sign of survivors’ at Russian plane crash site, reports news agency AFP.
Moscow: A Russian Defence Ministry TU-154 plane that had disappeared from radar over the Black Sea with 91 people on board has crashed, Rusian media reported on Sunday.
A rescue team had found the crash site in the Black Sea near the coast of the Sochi. The plane was en route to a Russian air base Latakya, in Syria. The Tu-154 went missing after taking off from Adler in Sochi, defense ministry officials told the media, Russian news agency TASS reported.
The ministry said that there were 83 passengers and 8 crew members on board, and that search and rescue groups had been dispatched to locate the missing Tu-154.
“The scheduled flight from the airport in Adler took off at 05:40 (MSK), after take-off, it disappeared from th radar …The Tu-154 has on board 83 passengers and eight crew members”, the Russian defense ministry said according to TASS.
“On board are the artists of the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Alexandrov, who were supposed to perform at Hmeymim airfield with a Christmas concert” – a spokesman of the emergency services told TASS. Hmeymim Air Base is a Russain air base southeast of Latakya city in Syria.
Nine journalists were among the passengers, according to the Interfax news agency. Interfax also reported that the rescuers already have determined the location of the crash, but there has been no official confirmation. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was personally coordinating the rescue efforts, and President Vladimir Putin has received official reports on the incident.