A Russian military Tu-154 disappears in the Black Sea with 92 on board

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A Russian plane has vanished from radar moments after take off. The airliner had set off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Christmas Eve.

The missing jet is a military Tu-154M registered RA-85572 belonging to the Russian Defence Ministry, with 92 people on board (84 passengers and 8 crew), mainly members of the choirs of the Red Army going to the Russian air base of Hmeimim near Latakia in Syria for a Christmas celebration.

An audio recording played on Russian media and said to be of the final conversation between air traffic controllers and the plane reveals no sign of any difficulties being faced by the crew. Voices remain calm until the plane disappears and the controllers try in vain to re-establish contact.

The first bodies have been recovered in the Black Sea. The plane lays down at 1.5 km from Sochi at a depth of 50 to 70 metres.

The Russian Ministry of Defence says there are no survivors and has published a list of victims: 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, better known as Choirs of the Red Army, 8 military including Valeri Khakhilov, director of the Ensemble, 8 crew, 9 journalists (three each from Channel One Russia, NTV, and Zvezda), 2 higher civil servants, and the director of a respected Russian charity, Elizavéta Glinka, known by the public as “Doctor Liza”.

President Vladimir Putin has sent his condolences to the families of the victims.

Further developments in our forum: http://www.luchtzak.be/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=60551

An earlier picture of the crashed Tupolev (source: Alan Wilson in Wikipedia)

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