Debris from a Russian military plane carrying 91 people that had disappeared from radars has been found in the Black Sea, local news agencies quoted the defence ministry as saying today.
“Fragments of the Tu-154 plane of the Russian defence ministry were found 1.5 kilometres from the Black Sea coast of the city of Sochi at a depth of 50 to 70 metres,” the ministry said.
The plane had vanished from radar screens shortly after taking off at 5:40 AM (0810 IST) from the southern city of Adler, south of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
It was conducting a routine flight to Russia’s Hmeimim airbase outside the coastal Syrian city of Latakia, the ministry said.
The ministry said the plane was carrying Russian servicemen as well as members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, the army’s official musical group, who were headed to Syria to participate in New Year celebrations at the base.
There were nine members of the media on board, the ministry said.
Moscow has been flying a bombing campaign in Syria since September 2015 in support of long-time ally Bashar al-Assad.
Here are the updates:
#3:30pm: 'No sign of survivors' at Russian plane crash site, say reports (AFP)
#1:00pm: Body found in Black Sea after Russian military plane crash: agencies