Oleg Pestov, a camera operator with Russia’s NTV Channel, died on Dec. 25, 2016 when a Russian Tu-154 military plane on which he was travelling crashed into the Black Sea shortly after takeoff from Sochi, killing all 92 passengers and crew aboard. Pestov was one of a group of seven journalists and two sound engineers killed in the crash. The plane was carrying the Alexandrov Ensemble, an orchestral and choral ensemble that was travelling to the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria to perform for Russian service members. The media workers were travelling with the ensemble to cover the visit. Russian investigators said on Dec. 29, 2016 that no signs of an explosion were apparent, but they declined to rule out terrorism as a possible cause of the crash.
Other media workers killed in the crash included correspondent Dmitry Runkov, cameraman Vadim Denisov and sound engineer Alexander Soydov from Channel One; correspondent Michael Luzhetsky and sound engineer Eugene Tolstov from the NTV Channel; and correspondent Pavel Obukhov, cameraman Alexander Suranov and assistant cameraman Valery Rzhevsky from the Zvezda TV Channel.