World Reacts to Tu-154 Plane Crash

A search operation following the Russian jet crash is underway, while world leaders react to the incident
Search-and-rescue personnel scour the crash site at Sochi on Dec. 25.Search-and-rescue personnel scour the crash site at Sochi on Dec. 25.
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that none of the 92 people on board Tu-154 has survived

Nobody has survived in the Tu-154 plane crash after it vanished from radar screens at 05.40 a.m. Moscow time (0240 GMT), two minutes after taking off from the airport of Adler, Sochi, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, announced.

According to the latest information from the ministry, there were 92 people on board the Russian Defense Ministry aircraft, consisting of eight crew members and 84 passengers.

According to TASS news agency, the plane was carrying more than 60 members of the famous Alexandrov ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian armed forces, who set off to celebrate the New Year with the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim air base in Syria.

The choir’s conductor Valery Khalilov was also on the list of passengers.

Among them was the Executive Director of Fair Aid charity fund, Elizaveta Glinka, also better known to the Russian public as Dr. Liza, as well as servicemen and reporters, including from Channel One, Zvezda and NTV.

  World Leaders React

“Our hearts are now with the families and relatives of the victims,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sent condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Tu-154 plane crash in the Black Sea near Sochi, deputy government spokesperson, Ulrike Demmer, said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also offered condolences to the families of the victims.

“I have deep sorrow over the news about the crash of the Russian military plane with the large army choir on board,” he said.

“I hope that survivors will be found and rescued.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad has expressed condolences to Putin over the plane crash, SANA news agency reported.

“To our great regret, we received the news about the crash of Russia’s Tu-154. Our friends were on board that plane who were planning to share with us and the people of Aleppo the joy of victory and holidays,” the Syrian leader said in a telegram to the Russian president.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic visited Russia’s Embassy in Serbia to offer his condolences to Russian Ambassador Alexander Chepurin.

  Investigation of All Possible Causes

Russia’s Investigative Committee is looking at all possible theories of the Tu-154 plane crash, including a terrorist attack, but it is too early to speak about it, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov, who heads the government commission probing into the crash, said on Sunday.

“The Investigative Committee is looking at various theories. Naturally, it considers the entire spectrum and any possible reasons that might have led to the crash. It is too early to speak about a terrorist attack,” he said.

“Flight recorders used in this type of planes are not equipped with radio beacons. Deep submersibles, including radio navigation means and deep radars will be used to search for the flight recorders. The duration of the operation will depend on the situation. But it may take long,” the minister added.

The Defense Ministry announced that debris from the Tu-154 had been found 1.5 km off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters.

Putin has ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to set up and head a government commission to look into the plane crash. The Investigative Committee announced that a criminal case was opened based on “the violation of rules of flights safety or preparation for them”.


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