Russian search teams have found no evidence of survivors from the military Tupolev Tu-154B which crashed in the Black Sea after take-off from Sochi.

Wreckage from the trijet’s fuselage has been located at a depth of 70m (230ft) some 1.5km from the Sochi coast, says the Russian ministry of defence.

It states that, while the area of the crash has been determined, “no survivors have been observed”, and four casualties have been recovered.

The ministry’s latest manifest figures state that 84 passengers and eight crew members were on board, primarily members of the famed Alexandrov Ensemble army choir.

They had been en route to Syria to perform for Russian military personnel.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev says the choir had been travelling on a “peaceful mission” and the loss of the ensemble is “irreparable”.

The defence ministry says the aircraft, while 33 years old, had accumulated only 6,689h. It had originally been acquired as a VIP transport for the Soviet armed forces.

Its commanding officer had logged 3,500h total flight time, and the ministry describes him as an “experienced pilot”.

The aircraft had undergone its last substantial routine maintenance check in September.

In the area of the crash site there is an “increasing” number of search and rescue personnel, says the ministry, with four helicopters and four ships assisted by an aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Additional vessels as well as remotely-operated submersibles, plus dozens of divers, are being deployed to the site.

Source: Cirium Dashboard