On Sunday, a Russian military plane reportedly crashed into the Black Sea shortly after departing Sochi. The Tu-154 plane was carrying 92 people, and early reports from the Russian Defense Ministry suspected that there were no survivors. The victims of the tragic Russian military plane crash included the crew and members of the Russian army's official choir.
The plane was bound for the Russian Hmeymim air base in Latakia, Syria, according to CNN. Latakia has been a scene of fighting during the Syrian civil war as of late, but the plane that crashed on Sunday was reportedly bringing a choir for a New Year's Eve concert. Although the plane had originally departed Moscow, it stopped to refuel in Sochi, which is situated on the coast of the Black Sea. Moments after taking off again, the plane disappeared from radar. Russian news agencies have reported finding wreckage from the Tu-154 and at least one body within a few miles of the Sochi shoreline.
According to Viktor Ozerov, a Russian defense official who spoke to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the cause of the crash was likely not related to terrorism, since the plane was operated by the Russian military. Meanwhile, CNN reported that no major weather patterns were present in the flight's path, suggesting that the crash wasn't due to weather. Either way, the Christmas morning crash left nearly a hundred victims, it seems.
Those victims reportedly included 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, a famous Russian army choir. Among the choir members on board was choir leader Valery Khalilov, The Boston Globe reported. You may recognize the choir from its performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where it sang Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."
In addition to the choir, nine Russian journalists were aboard the plane, as well as Yelizaveta Glinka, an award-winning Russian doctor. Glinka was reportedly accompanying a shipment of medical supplies to a Syrian hospital. She was known for her humanitarian work in Russia. According to The Christian Sciene Monitor, she had previously launched her own charity fund and free medical clinic to treat Moscow's homeless people.
Eight crew members were also on board. In honor of the victims, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Monday a national day of mourning. He also ordered Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to carry out an investigation of the crash. Meanwhile, emergency response teams on Sunday began to recover debris — and at least one body — from the Black Sea, near the coast of Sochi.