Moscow: Russian military divers have found parts of the fuselage of the plane carrying 92 occupants that crashed in the Black Sea shortly after taking off from Sochi airport, rescuers said on Monday.
The Tu-154 aircraft, bound for Syria, was carrying some military personnel, 64 members of the much-admired Russian Army Alexandrov choir and dance ensemble as well as nine journalists, Efe news reported.
“Preliminary data indicates that the wreckage is at a depth of 27 metres at a distance of one mile from the shore in the direction of the runway,” Russian Emergencies Ministry said in a statement.
The fuselage, which could contain the mortal remains of those aboard the plane, was located 1.7 km off the Black Sea coast, the statement said.
Divers have so far found four fragments, one of them about four metres long, it said.
More than 3,500 persons, including 135 divers, have been involved in looking for the wreckage, with 45 boats, 32 aircraft and seven submersible craft deployed to assist in the search.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB, formerly known as the KGB) said there was so far nothing to suggest the plane might have been brought down by a terror attack.
The plane refuelled at Sochi and was bound for the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria, where Russia has forces deployed.