Russian defense ministry plane crashes over Black Sea

By Reuters   December 24, 2016 | 11:06 pm PT
Russian defense ministry plane crashes over Black Sea
Investigators work at the site of a Polish government Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft crash in Smolensk April 13, 2010. Photo by Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin/Files
Russia's Defense Ministry plane has crashed with 91 on board.

A Russian defence ministry Tu-154 aircraft has disappeared from radar with 91 people on board after taking off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday.

Russia's RIA news agency, citing an unidentified security source, said preliminary data indicated the plane had crashed because of a technical malfunction. It was not immediately possible to verify that report.

Those on board included Russian servicemen and artists from a musical ensemble who were on their way to celebrate the upcoming New Year with the Russian air force at the Hmeimin air base in Syria, RIA also quoted the Defense Ministry as saying.

Nine Russian journalists were also on board, it said. 

In 2010, one of the Soviet-made TU-154s was also involved in an aircraft crash near Smolensk airport in western Russia, killing the then-Polish president Lech Kaczynski and other 86 other people on board.

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