Russian Military Plane Crashes in Black Sea; 92 feared dead

MOSCOW: A Russian military plane has crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria, with 92 people on board. Russian news agencies have negated any chance of survivors.

Russian agencies, citing unnamed security sources, said the TU-154 aircraft had crashed in the sea near the southern Russian city of Sochi after disappearing from radar screens.

Fragments of the plane have already been found at a depth of 50-70 metres at a distance of around 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles)from the Russian coast, agencies reported. Russia’s RIA news agency, citing an unidentified security source, said preliminary data indicated that the plane had crashed because of a technical malfunction or a pilot error.

The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source as saying the plane had not sent an SOS signal.

The plane was carrying Russian servicemen and members of a renowned military choir and dance ensemble, the Alexandrov Ensemble, who were being flown into Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria to entertain military personnel in the run-up to the new year, the RIA news agency quoted the Defence Ministry as saying.

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