A Russian passenger aircraft has crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, with the Russian embassy in Cairo saying everyone on board the flight has been killed
A Russian passenger aircraft has crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, with the Russian embassy in Cairo saying everyone on board the flight has been killed.
The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, was flying from the Sinai Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in Russia when it went down in central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said.
A north Sinai security source said initial examination suggested the crash could have been caused by a technical fault; but it was too early to draw any firm conclusions. The plane, he said, had landed in a "vertical fashion", contributing to the scale of devastation and burning.
"I now see a tragic scene," an Egyptian security officer at the site told Reuters by telephone. "A lot of dead on the ground and many who died whilst strapped to their seats.
"The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rockface. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside," the officer, who requested anonymity, said.
The Russian Investigative Committee’s main investigations department has opened a criminal case into the crash under Russian transport laws.
A militant group affiliated to ISIL terrorist group in Egypt, Sinai Province, said in a statement carried by the Aamaq website, which acts as a semi-official news agency for ISIL, that it had brought down the plane "in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land".
Russia's Transport Minister told Interfax news agency said the ISIL claim "can't be considered accurate".
The Kremlin press service said on Saturday that Putin has declared November 1 a national day of mourning for the tragedy.
The Russian plane was carrying 212 passengers and 7 crew members on board.