The three engine aircraft left Sochi-Adler Airport by night on a special flight to the airbase of Hmeimim located southeast of Latakia, Syria. Two minutes after takeoff from runway 20, while in initial climb, the airplane went out of control, nosed down and crashed into the Black Sea, about 6 km offshore and sank by a depth of 50 to 70 meters. SAR operations were quickly conducted and few debris and bodies were found after sunrise. It was confirmed by the Russian government there were no survivors and that among the occupants were 64 members of the 'Alexandrov Band' from the Red Army Choir, nine journalists, Elizaveta Glinka of the Russian Council of Human Rights and two high ranking civil officers. They were on their way to Syria to take part to the New Year celebrations with the Russian military contingent based in Syria. A day after the accident, some debris were found at a depth of 27 meters. 3,500 people are taking part to the salvage operations.