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SOCHI, December 26. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry’s Tu-154 passenger jet’s debris in the Black Sea may be located on Monday, Russia Aerospace Forces Commander Colonel General Viktor Bondarev said.
"I believe, today we may locate the main part of the plane’s debris at the bottom of the Black Sea," he told reporters.
Bondarev added that search teams had established the area where the plane’s flight recorders might be.
The plane crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday morning on its way to Syria, soon after taking off from the Adler airport. It was carrying 92 people on board including military servicemen, journalists, Yelizaveta Glinka (Doctor Liza) as well as members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, the official army choir of the Russian armed forces, who were being flown to Syria to perform in front of the Russian troops in the run-up to the New Year.
The plane’s fragments were found several hours after the crash 1.5 kilometers off the coast near the city of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters. A total of 11 bodies have been recovered so far. The first plane carrying the remains of the crash victims has already arrived in Moscow. December 26 has been declared a day of national mourning in Russia.
The task force deployed to the crash site has been increased to 3,500 people, the search operation area has been expanded. A total of 39 vessels, 135 divers and seven mini-submarines are involved in the operation.