MOSCOW, Dec 25:  A Russian Defence Ministry TU-154 plane that had disappeared from radar over the Black Sea with 91 people on board has crashed, the Interfax news agency reported on Sunday, citing an unidentified source.


A rescue team had found the crash site in the Black Sea near the coast of the Sochi, Interfax said.


Other Russian news agencies reported earlier that the Russian aircraft had disappeared from radar soon after taking off from Sochi, a Black Sea resort town.

This is a developing news update. Reuters’ earlier story follows…

A Russian defence ministry Tu-154 aircraft has disappeared from radar with 91 people on board after taking off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday.


Russia’s RIA news agency, citing an unidentified security source, said preliminary data indicated the plane had crashed because of a technical malfunction. It was not immediately possible to verify that report.


Those on board included Russian servicemen and artists from a musical ensemble who were on their way to celebrate the upcoming New Year with the Russian air force at the Hmeimin air base in Syria, RIA also quoted the Defence Ministry as saying.


Nine Russian journalists were also on board, it said.