Russian military aircraft disappears near Sochi with 91 passengers

Authorities say the aircraft was bound for Syria's Latakia province.

Russian military aircraft 'disappears from radar' near Sochi with 91 passengers
Representational Image of Black Sea Reuters

A Russian Defence Ministry plane went missing from radar on Sunday after departing from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the ministry confirmed in a statement.

Missile aircraft Tu-154 was carrying 91 people including journalists, military personnel, and musicians from Alexandrov Ensemble. Reports said the plane lost contact just 20 minutes after takeoff at 05:20 local time (02:20 GMT) as it was heading over the Black Sea.

Unconfirmed reports said the aircraft was bound for Syria's Latakia province. However, Russian officials have not made any comments yet. Interfax news agency quoted a source as saying that the plane went missing as it was manoeuvring over Russia's territorial waters.

According to Russia's state-run Rossiya24 TV channel reports, a search operation is now under way.

There were 83 passengers and 8 crew aboard the plane. The passengers included the famous Alexandrov military band members.

**This story is developing**