Disaster: All 93 passengers aboard crashed Russian plane feared dead

Photo credit: CNN
Photo credit: CNN

The Russian Defence Ministry said that “no survivors are seen” from the Tu-154 military plane that crashed on Sunday in the Black Sea off the coast of Sochi.

The plane, which was carrying 93 people, including a renowned choir to perform for the holidays at a Russian airbase in Syria, crashed shortly after takeoff, Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised comments.

At least four bodies have been recovered from the crash site, with major debris found about 1.5 kilometres from the coast, Konashenkov said. He earlier said 92 people were aboard the plane.

The Russian military’s most prominent choir, the Alexandrov Ensemble, was travelling to Syria’s coastal region of Latakia to perform at the Khmeimim airbase, Russia’s main base of operations for its military campaign in the Syrian civil war.

The plane was carrying more than 60 musicians, including the choir’s revered conductor, Valery Khalilov, a lieutenant general, and nine journalists, according to a list published on the Defence Ministry’s website.

There are “practically no chances” that anyone survived the crash, the Interfax news agency cited an undisclosed source in Russia’s emergency services as saying earlier.

Russia has been supporting its long time ally, Syria, with a bombing campaign against militant groups for more than a year.

Last week, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot dead in Ankara by a gunman who shouted Islamist slogans and denounced Moscow’s military involvement in Syria.

The most likely cause of the crash was either a problem with the plane or pilot error, state news agency RIA Novosti cited an undisclosed source as saying.

Russian federal investigators have opened a criminal case into the incident on charges of disobeying aviation rules, the Investigative Committee said in a statement on its website.

Designed in the late 1960s and with more than a thousand produced, Tu-154s were one of the main airliners of the Soviet Union and its successor states for decades until they began to be phased out in recent years.

The planes have been involved in almost a dozen major crashes since 2000, killing more than 800 people, including Poland’s then-president Lech Kaczynski near the Russian city of Smolensk in 2010.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has been in “continual contact” with President Vladimir Putin over Sunday’s incident, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by state media.

(dpa/NAN)


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  • Kalashnikov-AK 47

    Premium Times Editor,

    The Russian people must not be discouraged by this plane crash. The Russian soldiers who died inside
    were on their way to save mankind from the barbaric and mad Muslims in Syria who say Muslims must
    rule every country in this world simply because they are Muslims, even if they have no sense at all.
    I want the Russians to produce more bombs to take to Syria and kill all the mad Muslims quickly.
    Donald Trump will take office as U.S President on January 20th and Donald Trump has said
    he will “bomb the hell” out of all mad Muslims. As it is now, Islamism is the cancer in the world.
    All civilized people must join hands to kill the mad Muslims. No peace talk, just kill them all
    and come back alone.

    • el figaro

      ARE THE MUSLIMS BURNING CHURCHES, RAPING WOMEN, AND, BEHEADING IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

      NORMAL MUSLIMS, OR, MAD MUSLIMS? IF THEY ARE MAD MUSLIMS, NORTHERN NIGERIA IS IN SOUP!

    • Danladee

      You are off point. The story is that all passengers in the ill fated plane perished. Their mission is to fly and sing Christmas Carol to soldiers bombing innocent kids and their mothers. The Just Lord at work, you should say.

      • Supo O.

        @Danladee,

        The Music Corp of any army is a fighting arm in a combat zone. @Ak-47 is right in military terms.

        • Danladee

          All the same. They are all with their Creator now. Though I sympathize with their families.

    • CeeCee1818

      You know Putin’s bombs are killing innocent children right? There are some bad Muslems and good ones who just want to live and let live. As for Trump ‘s promise to bomb them is just hot air, he’s already walked back most of his promises. Condolences to the crash victims’ families.