A Russian Tu-154 aircraft with 91 people aboard, including a famed military band on the way to Syria, disappeared Sunday over the Black Sea shortly after takeoff from the resort town of Sochi, the Defense ministry said.
The ministry said the plane was carrying the famous Alexandrov military band for a concert at the Russian air base in Syria.
A total of 83 passengers and eight crew were on board when the plane dropped off radar early Sunday. Emergency services are searching for the plane, a Soviet-designed three-engine airliner, the ministry said.
Nine journalists were among the passengers, according to the Interfax news agency. Russian media reports said the plane disappeared over the sea a few minutes after takeoff.
Interfax reported that the rescuers already have determined the location of the crash, but there has been no official confirmation.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was personally coordinating the rescue efforts, and President Vladimir Putin has received official reports on the incident. (ags)