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MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. The major search operation in the Black Sea waters after the crash of the Tu-154 plane of the Russian Defense Ministry has been completed, a source in the operation headquarters told TASS on Thursday.
"The active phase of the search operation in the Black Sea waters has been completed," the source said. Almost all parts of the aircraft have been pulled from the Black Sea’s bed to the water surface.
The vessels involved in the search effort have left the area.
A Russian Defense Ministry Tu-154 plane bound for Syria crashed in the early morning hours of December 25 shortly after taking off from the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. There were 92 people on board the aircraft, including eight crew members and 84 passengers. Among them were journalists, servicemen and musicians from the world-renowned 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) charity fund Elizaveta Glinka, known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, was also on board the flight.
The Defense Ministry said that debris from the Tu-154 aircraft was found 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters.