A Russian military plane carrying 92 passengers crashed into the Black Sea on 25 December 2016. The nature of the crash is such that all are feared to be dead.
The TU-154 Tupolev airplane disappeared from the radar screens just two minutes after its take off from Sochi in southern Russia. It was headed to Latakia in Syria and had stopped at Sochi for refuel.
• People onboard included 8 crew members and 84 passengers, among whom 60 were members of a celebrated dance and music troop-the Red Army Choir, who were being flown into Russia’s air base, Hmeymim, in Syria to perform for the troops on New Year.
• Other passengers included nine journalists and military servicemen.
• No survivors have been found as of now.
• Preliminary information indicates that the plane crashed due to a technical malfunction or a pilot error. The weather had been good.
• According to Major General Igor Konashenkovm, the pilot was well experienced and the plane had been last serviced in September this year.
• Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared 26 December as a national day of mourning.
About the Search Operation
• A state commission headed by Russian Transportation Minister, Maxim Sokolov is looking into the crash.
• Four ships, four helicopters, a plane and a drone are being used in the search operation.
• Six more ships from Russia’s Black Sea fleet have been summoned to the crash site.
• The Russian military has also brought in more than 100 divers to assist in the search along with a mini-submarine.
• So far only four bodies have been recovered.
Tu-154 planes have been involved in a number of accidents before as well including a major one in April 2010, when an airplane carrying the then Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many of Poland’s high ranking politicians, crashed in western Russia killing everyone on board.
Manturov however, stated that it was too early to discuss the complete withdrawal of the airline’s service.