Backed by ships, helicopters and drones, Russian rescue teams searched Sunday for victims after a Russian plane carrying 92 people to Syria crashed into the Black Sea shortly after takeoff. Investigators said they are looking into every possible cause for the crash, including a terror attack. All 84 passengers and eight crew members on board the Soviet-built Tu-154 plane operated by the Russian military are believed to have died when it crashed two minutes after taking off at 5:25 a.m. in good weather from the southern Russian city of Sochi.
More than 3,000 people _ including over 100 divers flown in from across Russia _ worked from 32 ships and several helicopters to search the crash site, the Defense Ministry said. Drones and submersibles were also being used to help spot bodies and debris. Powerful spotlights were brought in so the search could continue around the clock. Emergency crews found fragments of the plane about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from shore. By Sunday evening, rescue teams had recovered 11 bodies and Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said fragments of other bodies were also found.
Asked if a terror attack was a possibility, Sokolov said investigators were looking into every possible reason for the crash. The plane belonging to the Defense Ministry was taking its world famous choir, the Alexandrov Ensemble, to a New Year’s concert at Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia. Those on board also included nine Russian journalists and a Russian doctor famous for her work in war zo