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A Russian military plane headed to Syria has disappeared from radar after taking off from the southern city of Adler, local news agencies reported the defence ministry as saying today.

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. The air base is the main hub for Russia's air campaign in the ongoing conflict in Syria.

More than 3,000 people searched the crash site on Sunday from 32 ships and several helicopters, the Defense Ministry said.

The ensemble's founder's grandson, Yevgeny, demonstrating a severe lack of perspective, told the Russian news website Meduza that, "the best members of the ensemble died".

Christmas 2016 would be remembered tragically for the loss of members the choir group Alexandrov Ensemble or the "Red Army Choir".

"All the best soloists, the whole choir", he said. "Possible malfunctions. certainly wouldn't have prevented the crew from reporting them", Vitaly Andreyev, a former senior Russian air traffic controller, told RIA Novosti, adding that it pointed to an "external impact". The plane that crashed on Sunday was made in 1983, underwent planned maintenance work in the fall, and was operated by an experienced pilot, the Defense Ministry said.

"The aircraft departed to Latakia and then disappeared from radars".

This file photo taken on January 2, 2001 shows a Tupolev-154 (TU-154) aircraft. 96 people perished in that crash, a similar number to the 92 who have lost their lives in this one, but some of the other crashes had a much higher death toll.