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MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov has arrived in Sochi to hold a meeting of a commission probing into the Tu-154 plane crash, the ministry’s press service said on Sunday.
"Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov has arrived in Sochi to hold a meeting of the commission set up to probe into the Tu-154 crash and to provide assistance to the families of the crash victims."
It was reported earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin set up a government commission over the defense ministry’s plane crash near Sochi. Sokolov was appointed chairman of that commission.
A Tu-154 plane from Russia’s Ministry of Defense vanished from radar screens at 05.40 a.m. Moscow time (02.40 a.m. GMT) shortly after taking off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
According to the latest information from Russia's Defense Ministry, there were 92 people on board the aircraft, consisting of 8 crew members and 84 passengers. Among them was the Executive Director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Fair Aid) charity fund, Elizaveta Glinka, also better known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, as well as servicemen and reporters, including from Channel One, Zvezda and NTV.
The plane was also carrying more than 60 members of the famous Alexandrov ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian armed forces, who set off to celebrate the New Year with the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria. The choir’s conductor Valery Khalilov was also on the list of passengers.
The Defense Ministry said that debris from the Tu-154 had been found 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at the depth of 50-70 meters. Some ten dead bodies of the crash victims have been found. It seems no one has survived. A search operation in underway.