Day of Mourning Declared in Russia Over Tu-154 Crash

PHOTO by Tabyldy Kadyrbekov / RIA Novosti

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Dec. 26 is a day of mourning for the dead passengers of the Tu-154 airplane that crashed into the Black Sea Sunday morning.

A search operation in the Black Sea is currently underway and the bodies of seven victims have been found. A source within the emergency services told Interfax that it was unlikely that any of the passengers on the plane survived. “There was virtually no chance of survival for those on board the Tu-154,” the source said.

The Tu-154 left from Adler Sunday morning to fly to the Syrian city of Latakia. The plane disappeared from radar at 05:27 local time shortly after taking off. Fragments of the plane were found 1.5 kilometres off the Black Sea coast at a depth of 50 to 70 metres. According to a recent update, there were 92 people on board, including Elizaveta Glinka, executive director of the Fair Aid charity and the inaugural winner of Russia's state prize for achievements in human rights, the famed Alexandrov Ensemble choir, reporters from Channel 1, NTV and Zvezda television channels, as well as accompanying military personnel and crew. They were flying to Syria to perform a New Year’s concert for Russian forces in Syria.

The list of passengers and crew members has been published on the website of the Ministry of Defence.