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Divers lift Tu-154 mid-fuselage fragment from Black Sea bottom

December 26, 2016, 18:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Earlier, rescuers found smaller fragments of the crashed plane

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MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Divers have lifted a fragment of the crashed Tu-154 mid-fuselage from the bottom of the Black Sea near Sochi, a spokesman for the search operation’s headquarters told TASS on Monday.

"By now, a four-meter mid-fuselage fragment has been lifted from the sea bottom," the spokesman said, adding that the search operation continues.

Earlier, rescuers found smaller fragments of the crashed plane.

A Russian defense ministry Tu-154 bound for Syria vanished from radars in the early morning on December 25 shortly after taking off from Sochi. There were 92 people on board the aircraft, including eight crew members and 84 passengers. Among them were journalists from Russia's Channel One, Zvezda and NTV networks, servicemen and musicians from the world-acclaimed Alexandrov ensemble, the official choir of the Russian armed forces, who set off to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria. The Executive Director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch (Russian for Fair Aid or Fair Help) charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, was also on board the flight.

The defense ministry said that fragments of the Tu-154 aircraft were found 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters. Thanks to intensive efforts by search and rescue teams, 11 bodies have been recovered so far. None of the passengers on the flight survived. According to the Federal Security Service, no evidence has been found linking the crash to terrorism.

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