Sochi plane crash: How the news unfolded

Search operation underway in the area of the military Tu-154 crash.

Search operation underway in the area of the military Tu-154 crash.

Nina Zotina/RIA Novosti
According to the Ministry of Defense, 92 people were aboard, nobody survived

20:04 Moscow time: 

20:01 Moscow time: A technical commission of the Russian defense ministry will probe into the crashed Tu-154 crew’s degree of training, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov, who leads the government commission investigating the Tu-154 crash, told media.

19:52 Moscow time: The search and rescue operation after the Tu-154 plane crash near the Black Sea city of Sochi will be continued on Dec. 26, Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov, who leads the government commission probing into the crash, told media.

19:50 Moscow time: A military Tu-154 aircraft heading for Syria crashed into the Black Sea. All those onboard were killed in the tragedy. Investigators are considering three theories: human error, a technical malfunction or a terrorist attack.

19:31 Moscow time: The hull of the Tu-154 plane that crashed on Sunday in the Black Sea near the city of Sochi has not yet been found, a source in the emergencies services told TASS.

"Numerous fragments have been retrieved but the hull has not yet been found. Its whereabouts are being established," the source said, adding that as of now only ten bodies have been found.

19:30 Moscow time: Tu-154 flight recorders not equipped with radio beacons, radars to be used to search for them - transport minister

17:17 Moscow time: 

17:05 Moscow time: Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov has arrived in the Russian city of Sochi to hold a meeting of a commission probing into the Tu-154 plane crash, the ministry’s press service said on Dec. 25.

It was reported earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin set up a government commission over the defense ministry’s plane crash near Sochi. Sokolov was appointed chairman of that commission.

17:02 Moscow time: 

16:22 Moscow time: People lay flowers, candles near Russian Embassy in Kiev

16:18 Moscow time: 

15:59 Moscow time: Infographics on the Crash of Tu-154 in Sochi

Source: Sputniknews.comSource: Sputniknews.com15:56 Moscow time: Crashed Tu-154: Technical Details

Source: Sputniknews.comSource:

15:45 Moscow time: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sent condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Tu-154 plane crash, deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said.

15:43 Moscow time: A total of 27 ships and vessels of the Black Sea fleet are taking part in the search operation in the area of the Tu-154 crash off the Sochi coast, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

"We are increasing the search and rescue group in the area of the crash of the Defense Ministry's Tu-154 plane. A total of 27 ships and vessels, 37 divers, four helicopters, drones and remotely operated submersibles are taking part in the operation," the ministry said.

The ministry said the area of the search effort will cover 10.5 square kilometers.

15:08 Moscow time: Debris from the Tu-154 can be recovered from the depths of the sea within a week under favorable weather conditions, the head of the monitoring service of the All-Russia Water Rescue Society told TASS on Dec. 25.

"Depths of 50-70 meters are not that submerged and major fragments can be recovered with the help of soft pontoons," Vladimir Gritsikhin said, adding that the water temperature at this depth is always above zero.

"I think that all the fragments can be recovered in a week if all services work promptly," he said. "The weather is fine now and we should utilize it."

15:06 Moscow time: Over 3,000 people taking part in search and rescue operation in Black Sea where Tu-154 plane crashed - Defense Ministry

15:03 Moscow time: The identification of the remains of those killed in the Tu-154 crash near Sochi would require forensic genetics, chief psychiatrist of the Russian Ministry of Health Zurab Kekelidze told RIA Novosti. He also added that the specialists of the Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry would consult experts of the doctors in Sochi, if necessary.

14:55 Moscow time: Doctors of the Moscow Institute of Emergency Children's Surgery & Traumatology led by famous children’s doctor Leonid Roshal have expressed condolences to the relatives and friends of Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr. Liza, who saved many lives of children during the armed conflicts.

"Dr. Liza cooperated with us very closely. She brought to us the children from Donbass. We cannot believe this has happened. Elizaveta Glinka was a kind and responsive person and was slight of figure. Her life is an exploit. A dignified person, and a person who saved children has died. All children really loved her," the institute’s press service said.

14:44 Moscow time: People mourn Tu-154 crash victims at Alexandrov Ensemble building

14:29 Moscow time: Ten bodies of Tu-154 plane crash victims found near Sochi - TASS source

14:24 Moscow time: Pilot of crashed Tu-154 was part of crew that managed to safely land somersaulting aircraft in 2011

14:16 Moscow time: A decision on taking out of service the Tu-154 planes would be premature, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said after the plane crash in the Black Sea on Dec. 25. 

"There are many aircrafts in the world which are no more manufactured but are in operation. The expected life of this aircraft is 40 years," Manturov said. 

14:12 Moscow time: Watch a documentary (in Russian) about Doctor Liza

14:10 Moscow time: 

14:04 Moscow time: Russian President Vladimit Putin declared Monday a day of national mourning for those killed in the crash of Tu-154 in Sochi. 

14:02 Moscow time: Tu-154 has been the backbone of Soviet and Russian airlines for decades. Three engines, narrow-bodied and medium range. Designed in the mid-60s, came into service in 1972 and was modernised in 1986 with new engines and equipment. Has seen 39 fatal accidents, although few were due to technical problems. Many were as a result of difficult weather conditions and poor air traffic control. A few were lost in conflicts including in Lebanon, Georgia and Afghanistan. Phased out since the turn of the century. Aeroflot retired its fleet in 2010. Only about 50 in service worldwide. (Source:

13:43 Moscow time: Russia will thoroughly investigate all the circumstances surrounding the Tu-154 plane crash in the Black Sea near Sochi, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Dec. 25.

"This awful tragedy has claimed the lives of people who were energetic and had plans. Among those killed are journalists, servicemen and musicians of the renowned Alexandrov ensemble. They flew to Syria with a very benevolent and peaceful mission," Medvedev said.

"The circumstances of the incident will be thoroughly investigated, and everyone affected by this tragedy will receive the necessary assistance," the Cabinet of Ministers' press service quoted Medvedev as saying.

13:41 Moscow time: U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has expressed condolences to Russians over the Tu-154 plane crash in the Black Sea near Sochi, spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow Maria Olson wrote on her Twitter page. "Tefft: our thoughts, prayers with the loved ones of passengers, crew of Tu-154, and with the Russian people," Olson wrote.

13:39 Moscow time: 

13:20 Moscow time: 

13:17 Moscow time: 

13:11 Moscow time: 7 bodies of Tu-154 plane crash victims found near Sochi - TASS source

13:09 Moscow time: Circumstances of Tu-154 plane crash to be thoroughly investigated - PM Medvedev says

13:02 Moscow time: Latest news from


13:01 Moscow time: Local authorities are preparing accommodation and psychological support groups for relatives of the crash victims, the mayor of Sochi's press service said.

12:59 Moscow time: 

12:55 Moscow time: 

12:53 Moscow time: Russia’s Defense Ministry revises list of people onboard crashed Tu-154 plane to 92

12:52 Moscow time: 

12:50 Moscow time: 

12:42 Moscow time: No survivors in Tu-154 plane crash near Sochi - Defense Ministry

12:36 Moscow time: 

12:29 Moscow time: The Tu-154 plane that crashed off the Black Sea coast near Sochi on Sunday was manufactured more than 30 years ago and underwent scheduled maintenance this September, and was flown by an experienced pilot, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

"The Tu-154 plane of the military and transport aviation of Russia’s Defense Ministry was flown by experienced pilot Roman Volkov," the ministry said in a statement. Volkov is class 1 pilot who had more than 3,000 hours of flight.

The Tu-154 plane was manufactured in 1983 and had 6,689 hours of flight. "The last repair was on December 29, 2014, and in September 2016 it underwent scheduled maintenance," the ministry said.

12:23 Moscow time: 93 people onboard crashed Tu-154 plane - Defense Ministry’s updated list

12:22 Moscow time: 

12:10 Moscow time: Doctor Liza in Kremlin some time ago

12:07 Moscow time: Humanitarian activist Elizaveta Glinka's husband, lawyer Gleb Glinka, confirmed to Snob media outlet that his wife died in the Tu-154 crash.

11:54 Moscow time: Putin orders Medvedev to set up a state commission to investigate Tu-154 plane crash - Kremlin.

11:51 Moscow time: 


11:49 Moscow time: Crashed Tu-154 made in 1983 repaired in Dec. 2014, underwent scheduled maintenance in Sep. 2016 - Defense Ministry

11:46 Moscow time: All but 3 choir singers were aboard


11:41 Moscow time: Four bodies of victims found at Tu-154 crash site, TASS reports quoting its sources. 

11:40 Moscow time: Last video by NTV audio operator


11:32 Moscow time: According to sources, MoD does not exclude possibility on an act of terror


11:30 Moscow time: 


11:28 Moscow time: "Four marine vessels and five helicopters are now involved in the search operations, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles. The forces and facilities increasing [in the area]" - Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

11:24 Moscow time: Video from rescue operation


11:23 Moscow time: 


11:19 Moscow time: Video of the same Tu-154 5 years ago.


11:15 Moscow time: 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.

11:07 Moscow time: Defence Ministry published a list of those who were on board. 

11:05 Moscow time: 


11:00 Moscow time: 


10:58 Moscow time: 


10:52 Moscow time: Dr. Liza was on list of passengers of crashed Tu-154 plane - Defense Ministry

10:50 Moscow time: Head of Alexandrov Ensemble Valery Khalilov was on list of passengers of crashed Tu-154 plane - Defense Ministry

10:38 Moscow time: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters it was too early to say what had caused the crash. President Vladimir Putin was being kept informed of latest developments, Peskov added.

10:37 Moscow time: Documents belonging to the Channel One journalists have been found at the scene, TASS news agency reports, citing a security service source.

10:35 Moscow time: 


10:32 Moscow time: 


10:31 Moscow time: Journalists from another Russian TV channel, NTV, were among those on board: correspondent Mikhail Luzhetsky, cameraman Oleg Pestov, and sound engineer Evgeny Tolstov, according to media reports.

10:30 Moscow time: The debris flew apart along the coast, across a 1.5 kilometer area, and is at depths of 50 to 100 meters, a source told RIA Novosti.

10:29 Moscow time: Military investigators of Russia’s Investigative Committee are seizing documents and interrogating the persons who prepared the Tu-154 plane of the Defense Ministry for the flight to Syria, IC spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS.

"Exhaustive measures are being taken to establish all the circumstances of the incident. The pre-flight documents are seized and officials who were in charge of the flight as well as technical personnel who prepared the plane for the flight and refueled it are questioned," she said.

10:23 Moscow time: 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, official spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

10:20 Moscow time: 


10:19 Moscow time: Military sources confirm the side number of the plane - RA-85572

10:15 Moscow time: Kremlin has no info that Dr. Liza was onboard crashed Tu-154 plane - Peskov

10:13 Moscow time: First body found 6 km from Sochi coastline

10:11 Moscow time: Russian security source rules out possibility of finding survivors


10:09 Moscow time: Alexandrov Ensemble is the official choir of the Russian armed forces. Known as the Red Army Choir, it was founded in 1928 during the Soviet era. The group also includes an orchestra and dancers. It takes its name from its first director, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, who wrote the music to the National Anthem of the Soviet Union. The performance was scheduled to take place at Russia's Hmeimim air base, near Latakia.

10:07 Moscow time: Putin receives info on Tu-154 crash constantly with new details - Kremlin

10:05 Moscow time: The plane was flying to Syria's Latakia province. It originated in Moscow and had landed at Adler airport in Sochi for refuelling.

10:01 Moscow time:


09:55 Moscow time: Three members of the film crew of the Zvezda TV channel, as well as a correspondent, a sound producer and an operator of the Channel One were onboard the plane, the press services of the TV channels said.

09:40 Moscow time: The parts of fuselage of Tu-154 plane of the Defense Ministry have been found some 1.5 km from the Black Sea coast of Sochi at the depth of up to 70 meters, the ministry said on Sunday.

"The fragments of the fuselage of the Tu-154 plane of Russia’s Defense Ministry have been found 1.5 km from the Black Sea coast of Sochi at the depth of 50-70 meters," the statement said.

The Defense Ministry said the plane disappeared from radars at 05.40 a.m. Moscow time (02.40 a.m. GMT) shortly after taking off from Sochi.

There were 91 people onboard the plane, including eight crew members and 83 passengers.

Among them were Russian servicemen who flew to congratulate with the New Year the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria, musicians of the famed army choir, the Alexandrov Ensemble, and nine representatives of Russian mass media.

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