Bashar Assad Expresses Condolences over Russian Plane Crash
Dec 26 2016 by Francis Osborne
Also on board was Yelizaveta Glinka, a Russian doctor who has won wide acclaim for her charity work.
President Vladimir Putin has declared Monday a day of national mourning and ordered a probe into the crash.
Russia's RIA news agency, citing an unidentified security source, said preliminary information indicated that the plane had crashed because of a technical malfunction or a pilot error.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has also sent a message to Putin telling his Russian counterpart that he is "extremely sad" over the plane crash.
This image, taken on October 23, 2015, shows members the official army choir of the Russian armed forces, also known as the Alexandrov Ensemble, performing at the Palais des Sports in Paris.
Russia's transport minister said investigators were looking into an "entire spectrum" of possible reasons the crash occurred, including the possibility of a terror attack.
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The Tu-154 was carrying 84 passengers and eight crew members.
Konashenkov said four bodies had been recovered from the sea. The last fix was performed on two years ago, according to flight records, and the airplane underwent scheduled maintenance in September, the Defense Ministry said.
The Alexandrov Ensemble was scheduled to perform a New Year's concert at Russia's Hmeimim air base near Latakia.
A plane reportedly belonging to the Russian defence ministry has disappeared from radar just minutes after take-off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, media reports said on Sunday (Dec 25). Sokolov said the plane's flight recorders did not have radio beacons, so locating them on the seabed was going to be challenging. Pilot of Tu 154 was part of this crew. Russia's official weather forecast agency said that conditions near the airport were "normal, easy", the Interfax news agency reported.
Fragments of the Tu-154 plane were discovered off the coast near the city of Sochi hours after it disappeared from radars 2 minutes after takeoff. Russian authorities say that it crashed into the Black Sea.
Until recently, the Tu-154, which was designed in the 1960s, was one of the most widely used civilian aircraft in Russian aviation.