Xi sends Putin condolences over plane crash

By An Baijie | | Updated: 2016-12-26 15:11

President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday over the crash of a Russian military plane.

On behalf of Chinese government and people, Xi expressed deep sympathy over the accident and extended his sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

The Tu-154 aircraft, with 92 people on board, was en route to the Syrian port city of Latakia. It vanished from the radar screens shortly after taking off from an airfield in the southern Russian city of Adler at 5:40 am, according to Russian media reports.

"Fragments of the Russian Defense Ministry's Tu-154 aircraft were discovered 1.5 kilometers from the Black Sea shore of Sochi at a depth of 50-70 meters," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov confirmed that 84 passengers including 65 choir members, and eight crew members were on board the plane.

Among those on board were Russian servicemen and members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, the Russian army's official choir, who were heading to the air base for New Year celebrations, according to the ministry.

Among the 84 passengers there were also nine journalists, the ministry noted.

Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case over the crash. A defense ministry commission, headed by Deputy Defense Minister Pavel Popov, has departed to Adler.

The Tu-154 is a three-engine medium-range airliner produced by Russian aerospace and defense company Tupolev. It is one of the fastest civilian aircraft in use and widely used in extreme Arctic conditions.

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