MOSCOW – A Russian military plane has crashed over the Black Sea having disappeared from the radar shortly after taking off from the city of Sochi, Russian media reported on Sunday.
Rescue teams reportedly confirmed the suspected crash site of the missing Tu-154 aircraft near the Sochi coast.
A defence ministry spokesman told Russian media that a body was recovered from the Black Sea after the Syria-bound plane crashed on Sunday.
“The body of a person killed as a result the crash of the Russian defence ministry’s Tu-154 was found six kilometres off the coast of Sochi,” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told agencies.
Rescue teams also found debris at the suspected crash site 1.5 kilometres off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 50 to 70 metres.
MORE: Russia military Tu-154 plane crash site is in Black Sea off Sochi coast according to Russian media. – @W7VOA
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Russian defence ministry TU-154 plane crashed with 91 people on board over Black Sea – Interfax cites Russia 24 TV
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The defence 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.
Other news agencies, including Itar Tass, reported that up to 100 people were on board.
Reports indicate that the plane disappeared from radar about 20 minutes after takeoff.
“Reports here in Moscow are saying that the passengers included journalists, military personel and members of the famous Alexandrov Ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian armed forces,” Al Jazeera reported. “Rescue crews have been deployed to search for the aircraft.”
Those on board included Russian servicemen and artists from a musical ensemble who were on their way to celebrate the upcoming New Year with the Russian air force at the Hmeimin air base in Syria, RIA also quoted the Defence Ministry as saying.
Nine Russian journalists were also on board, it said.