All 92 on Syria-bound Russian military jet killed in crash, including 60 from Red Army Choir
MOSCOW, Dec 25 (Reuters) - A Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, dancers and orchestra members, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday, killing everyone on board, Russian authorities said.
The Russian Defence Ministry said one of its TU-154 Tupolev planes had disappeared from radar screens at 0525 MSK (0225 GMT), two minutes after taking off from Sochi in southern Russia, where it had stopped torefuel from Moscow, on its way to Syria.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a ministry spokesman, told reporters that nobody had survived.
"The area of the crash site has been established. No survivors have been spotted," he said. An unnamed ministry source told Russian news agencies no life rafts had been found, while another source told the Interfax agency that the plane had not sent an SOS signal.
In televised comments, President Vladimir Putin, speaking in St Petersburg, declared Dec. 26 a national day of mourning.
The jet, a Soviet-era Tupolev plane built in 1983, had been carrying 84 passengers and eight crew members.
At least 60 were members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, better known internationally as the Red Army Choir, and were being flown out to Russia's Hmeymim air base in Syria to entertain troops in the run-up to the New Year.