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MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. Six ships and vessels of the Russian Black Sea fleet have been sent to the area of the Tu-154 plane crash off the Sochi coast, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
"Four ships, four helicopters, one aircraft and drones are involved in the search and rescue operation. Six ships and vessels of the Black Sea fleet, remotely operated submersibles and 63 divers have been additionally sent to the crash area. Fifty more divers from other fleets will be brought to the crash area in about an hour," the ministry said.
The Tu-154 plane of the Defense Ministry disappeared from radars at 05.40 a.m. Moscow time (02.40 a.m. GMT) shortly after taking off from Sochi. There were 92 people onboard the plane, including journalists, servicemen and musicians of the famous Alexandrov ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian armed forces, who flew to congratulate the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria with the New Year. Executive Director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Fair Aid) charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr. Liza, was also onboard.
The Defense Ministry said the debris of the Tu-154 plane was found 1.5 km from the coast near Sochi at the depth of 50-70 meters. Seven bodies of the victims have already been recovered.