Russian plane and 91 passengers disappear off radar

A RUSSIAN Defence Ministry's Tu-154 carrying 91 people has disappeared from radars after departing from Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The passengers included journalists, military personnel, musicians from the Alexandrov Ensemble, the official army choir of the Russian armed forces. There were 83 passengers and eight crew members.

The transport aircraft lost contact just 20 minutes after takeoff as it was heading over the Black Sea.

The aircraft is likely to have crashed in the mountains in Krasnodar Territory in the south of Russia, a source in local security sources told RIA Novosti.

The plane was understood to be bound for Syria's Hmeimim air base in Latakia province. It had arrived in Sochi from Chkalovsky airport in Moscow for refuelling.

Interfax news agency reports quoted a source as saying that the plane departed from Sochi,
Krasnodar Krai, at 05:20 local time (1.20pm AEST).

The aircraft went missing as it was manoeuvring over Russia's territorial waters, the source added.

All rescue crews from Krasnodar Krai and neighbouring regions have been dispatched to search for the aircraft.


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