MOSCOW, Russia (A.W.) – A Russian TU-154 airplane that crashed into the Black Sea on Dec. 25, was carrying at least two Armenians, according to a preliminary report. The plane, that shows no signs of survivors, had 92 passengers including the world-famous Russian Red Army Choir that was headed to Syria for a New Year performance for troops, Russian Defense Ministry reported.
The two Armenians, who were Russian citizens, were members of the choir. The last names of the two Armenians are Georgiyan and Vaganov.
The Russian plane disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from the Adler airport in Sochi. The flight originated in Moscow and had stopped for refueling at the Adler airport.
In addition to the 64 members of the choir, the plane included nine journalists, eight crewmembers, and Dr. Elizaveta Glinka who serves on the Kremlin Human Rights Council.
There were no survivors at the crash site and 10 bodies had been recovered off the coast of Sochi, the defense ministry reported. Several fragments one mile away from the shore and 80 feet deep under the sea were also found.
So far, 45 ships and more than 3,500 rescue workers have been involved in a search for remains and plane debris.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Dec. 26, as a day of national mourning to honor the victims of the crash.
Armenian President Serge Sarkisian sent a letter to President Putin expressing his condolences regarding the incident. “I express my deep condolences, support, and sympathy to you, friend, and families of the victims and the brotherly people of Russia. I wish tenacity and courage to overcome this tragedy,” read a part of the letter.
A candlelight vigil was also held in memory of the victims outside the Russian Embassy in Yerevan on Dec. 26.