SOCHI, December 26. /TASS/. Rector of the St. Nicolas Church in the city of Sochi, archpriest Dmitry Petukhov, has conducted a service in memory of the Tu-154 crash victims in the airport chapel, a TASS correspondent reported. Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov and Krasnodar region Governor Veniamin Kondrartyev attended the service.
The archpriest said that on this day of mourning all victims of the crash should be remembered.
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, humanitarian and charity activist 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.