A Russian military plane with 91 passengers on board has crashed into the Black Sea , Russian defence ministry said.
The plane disappeared from radar 20 minutes after taking off from Sochi’s Adler airport at 7:50 am IST.
“Fragments of the Tu-154 plane of the Russian defence ministry were found 1.5km from the Black Sea coast of the city of Sochi at a depth of 50 to 70 metres,” defence ministry said in a statement.
Debris and several bodies have been found, with no reports of survivors.
The TU-154 plane, on its way to Latakia in Syria, was carrying 81 passengers and 10 crew members, including service personnel, a military music band and journalists.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said soldiers, members of the famed Alexandrov Ensemble band and nine reporters were on board the plane.
The crew were flying to take part in a new year performance for Russian troops deployed in Syria, BBC reported.
The performance was scheduled to take place at Russia’s Hmeimim air base, near Latakia.
Search and rescue services of aviation units of the Southern Military District in Krasnodar and neighbouring regions are engaged in the search for the aircraft.
Russia, a key ally of Bashar al-Assad-has been carrying out air strikes against Syrian rebels.