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Update: 92 People Were on Board of Tu-154 That Crashed in Black Sea - MoD

© Sputnik / Vladimir Ivanov / Go to the mediabankTupolev Tu-154
Tupolev Tu-154 - Sputnik International
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Sunday that a total of 92 people were on board of Tu-154 that crashed in the Black Sea.

A Russian military plane crashed in the Black Sea - Sputnik International
Latest Updates on Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 Aircraft Crash in Black Sea
Updated: There were 84 passengers and 8 crew members on board.

Konashenkov later said that there were 64 performing artists of the Alexandrov Ensamble as well as the group's director, Valery Khalilov, on board of the plane. Head of Defense Ministry's Department of Culture, Anton Gubankov, was among the passengers.

Currently, one Ka-32 helicopter and seven marine vessels are conducting a search at the site of the crash.

Russia's missing TU-154 aircraft fell into the Black Sea as its fragments were discovered 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the sea shore of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters (164-184 feet), the Russian Defense Ministry's press service said Sunday.

"Fragments of the Russian Defense Ministry's TU-154 aircraft were discovered in 1.5 kilometers from the Black Sea shore of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters," the ministry said.

Earlier reports said that the plane carried 91 people, including 83 passengers and eight crew members.

The plane departed from Sochi at 5.20am local time on Sunday, or at 9.20pm EST. It disappeared from radars about 20 minutes after takeoff.

Preliminary data shows that the disappeared plane was heading to Syria's Hmeimim airbase. According to the source, the possible reasons for the alleged crash could be technical malfunction or pilot error.

The version of a terror attack has been ruled out, the chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Viktor Ozerov said.

Soon after the news came out, Russia's Investigative Committee launched a criminal case into the crash of Tu-154 military aircraft in the Black Sea.

"A criminal case into the Tu-154 crash was initiated, according to Article 351 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, 'Failure to comply with the rules of flight security and preparation,'" Svetlana Petrenko said.

The musicians of the Alexandrov Ensemble were en route to Hmeimim airbase in Syria for a New Year concert.

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