Russian military plane with 92 on board crashes en route to Syria

Russian military plane with 92 on board crashes en route to Syria

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All 92 on Syria-bound Russian military jet killed in crash, including 60 from Red Army Choir

A Russian military plane with 92 people aboard, including a well-known military band, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday minutes after takeoff from the resort city of Sochi.

The Tupolev Tu-154 plane was carrying musicians from the famous Alexandrov military choir, as well as dancers, musicians and journalists, to a new year concert for troops in Syria. It crashed soon after taking off from the resort of Sochi on Sunday.

Twelve bodies have been recovered off the coast of the resort city of Sochi, as a frantic search operation continued to find the missing.

Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation after a Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army choristers, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria.

In a statement, the Kremlin said that Putin expressed his “deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the crash”. He also ordered the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, to form a state commission to investigate the crash.

Russian agencies said all possible reasons for the crash were being examined, but investigators believed terrorism was unlikely.

The plane had been on a routine flight to Russia’s Hmeimim air base in western Syria, which has been used to launch air strikes in Moscow’s military campaign in Syria.

Among the 84 passengers on the plane were 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, the army’s official musical group better known internationally as the Red Army Choir, who were travelling to Syria to participate in New Year celebrations at the airbase.

Nine journalists were among the passengers. There were also eight soldiers, two civil servants, and an NGO member. The other eight were crew members.

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