Russia’s Tu-154 crashed Minutes after Takeoff

Russia’s Tu-154 aircraft crashed in the Black Sea just under seven minutes after takeoff from the resort city of Sochi

A Russian military plane reported missing Sunday with 92 people aboard has crashed, leaving no apparent survivors and a trail of plane wreckage in the Black Sea near Sochi, according to the CNN report.

A Tupolev Tu-154 plane that was carrying 84 passengers and 8 crewmembers disappeared from radar Sunday morning local time after taking off from the Adler airport near the Black Sea city, state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The plane, which first took off from Moscow, was headed to the Russian Hmeymim airbase in Latakia, Syria, where the country has a large military presence, for a concert ahead of New Year's Eve, a source told Russia's state news agency Tass.

Before arriving in Latakia, the plane landed in Sochi to refuel, the Defense Ministry's press service told Russia's Interfax news agency.

According to RIA Novosti, the Defense Ministry said it found debris from the missing Tu-154 in the Black Sea one mile from Sochi. Four ships and five helicopters have combed the crash site, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, according to Russian state-run news agency TASS.

"No survivors are seen," the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Tass has also reported that, according to the Defense Ministry, "All search and rescue services of aviation units on the Southern Military District in Krasnodar and neighboring regions are engaged in aircraft search."

According to Tass, the plane was built in 1983 and had 6,689 hours of flight. "The last repair was on December 29, 2014, and in September 2016 it underwent scheduled maintenance," the Defense Ministry said as quoted by Tass.

The Defense Ministry also said, according to Sputnik, that it had identified the pilot as Roman Volkov, describing him as a "class 2 pilot" with more than 3,000 hours of flying, Tass reported.

The Russian Investigation Committee has launched a routine criminal investigation of the Tu-154 to examine potential "violation of rules of flight safety or preparation," the committee's official spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told Tass. The committee plans to seize documents and interrogate those who prepared the plane for flight, she added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to launch and lead an investigation the Tu-154 crash, according to Russian news agency Sputnik.

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