A body has been found in the Black Sea after a Russian military jet with 92 people on board crashed shortly after take-off, the defence ministry said.
The plane was carrying 64 members of the renowned military choir and dance band, the Alexandrov Ensemble, including its conductor Valery Khalilov.
The ensemble, better known as the Red Army Choir, was heading to Syria to give a concert at a Russian air base there.
Nine members of the media were among the 84 passengers on board.
Eight crew were also on the plane.
The missing aircraft is a Tu-154, a Soviet-designed three-engine airliner.
The plane had departed at 5:40am local time (0240 GMT) from Adler, south of Sochi.
Some personal documents from those on board have also been recovered.
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.
The plane went down over the Black Sea near Sochi
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists it was too early to say what caused the crash.
“The President is waiting for the picture to be clear,” he said.
The plane was flying to Russia’s Hmeimim airbase outside the coastal Syrian city of Latakia, the ministry said.
The Tu-154 aircraft has been involved in a number of accidents in the past.
In April 2010 the then Polish president Lech Kaczynski was killed when a Tu-154 airliner crashed near Smolensk in western Russia.