A Russian airliner Airbus A321, carrying out the flight 9268 from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg, with 217 passengers and 7 crew members on board, crashed 100 km south of Egypt’s El Arish, North Sinai provincial capital, about half an hour after departure, Joinfo.ua reports with the reference to Vesti.ru.
On the morning of October 31, the Airbus A321 of Russian airline “Kogalymavia” took off 5:51 a.m. from the Sinai Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia, and half an hour later it went down in the mountainous area of central Sinai.
Egyptian security forces confirmed there have been no survivors.
Reuters reports that an Egyptian security officer at the scene told the agency by telephone: “I now see a tragic scene. 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 rock. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside,” the officer, who requested anonymity, said.
Sinai is the scene of an insurgency by militants close to Islamic State, who have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police and have also attacked Western targets in recent months.
Russian aviation authorities had no information about the closure of airspace in the area of the flight. This was announced by Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov. “As the aviation authorities of Egypt and the other countries of the area did not introduced any prohibitions, the aircraft followed the established corridor” – said Sokolov.
Russian tourist agency association published a list of the passengers on their site.
“Citizens of Ukraine, Belarus and residents of about 6-7 regions of Russia were among the passengers of the flight,” – said the head of the Social Policy Committee of St. Petersburg Alexander Rzhanenkov. Egyptian authorities informed that there were three Ukrainian citizens on the flight. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has not confirmed this information yet.
For now 30 psychologists and 6 ambulance teams are on duty at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, they are ready to help the relatives of the passengers. It was reported that 15 people requested medical assistance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a day of national mourning for Sunday.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail was heading to the crash site in the Hassana area 35 km (22 miles) south of the Sinai Mediterranean coastal city of Al Arish with several cabinet ministers on a private jet, the tourism ministry said to Reuters.
Egyptian emergency services reported that one of two flight recorders has already been found. The rescue operation at the site continues.