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Russian Defense Ministry: 92 people were onboard crashed Tu-154 plane

Russian philanthropist Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr. Liza, and 64 musicians of famed army choir who flew to congratulate the Russian air group in Syria with the New Year were onboard

MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. The crashed Tu-154 plane of Russia’s Defense Ministry carried eight crew members and 84 passengers, the ministry’s official spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

"There were eight crew members and 84 passengers onboard the plane," Konashenkov said. 

The list of passengers was published on the Defense Ministry’s website. 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 on the list of the passengers.

A law enforcement source told TASS "Dr. Liza was at the Chkalovsky airport at 23.00 yesterday and said that she was departing and would be in Latakia in the morning." He said that Dr. Liza planned to visit the Tishrin hospital in downtown Latakia where she was last time some six months ago.

A commission of Russia’s Defense Ministry led by Deputy Defense Minister Pavel Popov has departed to the Black Sea resort of Adler in the wake of the Tu-154 military plane crash, added Konashenkov.

The Tu-154 plane of the Defense Ministry disappeared from radars at 05.40 a.m. Moscow time shortly after taking off from Sochi. 

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to set up and head a state commission on the investigation of the Tu-154 plane crash off the Black Sea coast near Sochi, the Kremlin press service said on Sunday.

Putin has also offered his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.