All 224 people aboard a Russian airliner were declared dead by Egyptian authorities after the place crashed in Sinai peninsula, Egypt, on Saturday. The dead included 17 children aged two and seven years.
Most of the 217 passengers are said to be Russian tourists. There were seven crew members on board. Egyptian officials said 214 of the passengers were Russian and three Ukrainian.
Russian civilian plane was Metrojet Flight 7K9268 was headed to St. Petersburg.
Later in the day, the office of Egypt’s prime minister Sharif Ismail confirmed that there were no survivors. It had earlier issued a statement saying that a “Russian civilian plane… crashed in the central Sinai.”
The Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsiya said in a statement that flight 7K 9268 left Sharm el-Sheikh at 6.51 a.m and was due into St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport at 12.10 a.m., BBC reported.
The Egyptian cabinet said in a statement that the aircraft went off the radar 22 minutes after take-off.
Egyptian media reports said wreckage of the plane had been found and at least 20 ambulances sent to the scene.
The plane was operated by the small Russian airline Kogalymavia, based in western Siberia.
Wreckage was found in the Hasana area and bodies removed, along with the plane’s “black box”. An official described a “tragic scene” with bodies of victims still strapped to seats.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared Sunday a day of mourning. He has ordered an official investigation into the crash, and for rescue teams to be sent to the crash site.
A commission headed by Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov is to leave for Egypt on Saturday afternoon.
A criminal case has also been opened against the airline, Kogalymavia, for “violation of rules of flight and preparation for them”, Russia’s Ria news agency reported.
A centre to help relatives of the passengers has been set up at Pulkovo airport, Tass news agency quoted St. Petersburg city officials as saying.
Initially there were conflicting reports about the fate of the plane, some suggesting it had disappeared over Cyprus.