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BREAKING: Russian Plane Crashes En Route To Syria

21st Century Wire says…

A Russian Tupolev transport plane which had 92 people on board, including 84 passengers and eight crew members, went missing over the Black Sea at 2:40 GMT.

The majority of the passengers were members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, which is the official choir of the Russian armed forces. 21WIRE will be keeping an eye on this tragic situation as it develops.

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RT

Rescue helicopters have discovered debris in the Black Sea from a Russian military transport plane which went off radar en route to Syria. Most of the passengers on the Tu-154 were members of the famous Alexandrov Ensemble army choir.

LIVE UPDATES: Russian military plane with 91 on board disappears en route to Syria

According to preliminary reports, the Tupolev transport plane had 92 people on board, including 84 passengers and eight crew members. It went missing over the Black Sea at 2:40 GMT shortly after refueling at an airport near Sochi.

Most of the passengers on board were members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, the official choir of the Russian Armed Forces, the Russian Defense Ministry said. They were travelling from Moscow to the Russian military base Khmeimim near Latakia, Syria to take part in a Christmas celebration with troops deployed there. The head of the choir, conductor and composer Valery Khalilov, is among the 64 members of the ensemble presumed dead in the accident.

Crews from Channel One Russia, NTV, and Zvezda (the official media outlet of the Russian Defense Ministry), each with three members, were on board as well, the outlets confirmed.

The passenger list released by the defense ministry also includes Elizaveta Glinka, a prominent charity activist and humanitarian worker. She is best known by her blogger nickname “Doctor Liza.” There is some confusion over whether she was on board the plane, as some sources say she may have missed the flight at the last moment.

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Helicopters dispatched from Sochi to search for the aircraft have discovered the crash site, the ministry reported.

“Hull fragments of the Tu-154 plane operated by the Defense Ministry have been found about 1.5 km off the Black Sea coast of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters,” the ministry said in a statement.

So far, no survivors have been found in the sea, local rescue services told Interfax.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the plane’s crash, the Kremlin said.

TASS reports that weather conditions in the regions were “favorable” to aviation. No civilian flights have been cancelled yet.

The Tupolev Tu-154 is a three-engine medium-range transport plane designed in the 1960s. It is capable of carrying up to 180 passengers, depending on the version. There are about 50 aircraft of this type remaining in operation throughout the world, with the Russian Air Force having the biggest fleet.

The plane that crashed near Sochi was a Tu-154B-2 with registration number RA-85572. The passenger capacity was boosted to 180. The aircraft has been in service since 1983, according to the online registry russianplanes.net.

Continue this report at RT

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files