A Russian military plane with 91 people on board has crashed into the Black Sea, media reports say. The plane disappeared from radar 20 minutes after taking off from Adler airport in the resort of Sochi at 05:20 (02:20 GMT).
The defence ministry said the Tu-154 aircraft was carrying service personnel, members of the famed Alexandrov choir and reporters. The plane was reportedly flying to Syria’s Latakia province.
A rescue team has now found debris in the Black Sea, news agencies said. Russian defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said the plane was carrying passengers to a New Year’s performance for Russian troops deployed in Syria.
Russia – a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – has been carrying out air strikes against what it described as terrorist groups, reports the BBC.
The aircraft went missing as it was manoeuvring over Russia’s territorial waters, a source at the emergency ministry was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.