Russian plane crash: Airbus A321-200 with 224 on board crashes in Egypt, all killed

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Cairo | Updated: October 31, 2015 10:11:44 PM

All the 224 people, including seven crew members, on board a Russian Airbus aircraft were killed today when it crashed in a mountainous region in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula...

All the 224 people, including seven crew members, on board a Russian Airbus aircraft were killed today when it crashed in a mountainous region in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for which the Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility.

Egyptian security officials said there were no survivors among the 217 passengers- 214 Russians and three Ukrainians – and seven crew members. The passengers were mostly tourists.

Most of the 100 bodies recovered so far from the site of the crash were burned, Egyptian officials said adding that the wreckage was found roughly 100 kilometres south of the North Sinai town of El-Arish.

The wreckage was found in Hasana area, along with the plane’s black boxes. An official described the crash site as a “tragic scene” with bodies of victims still strapped to seats.

The Airbus A321-23 lost contact with Egyptian air traffic control 23 minutes after it took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh for St Petersburg early today.

An affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) group in Egypt, which is waging a deadly insurgency in the Sinai, claimed it downed the plane, but did not say how.

“The soldiers of the caliphate succeeded in bringing down a Russian plane,” it claimed, saying this was a revenge against Russia’s airstrikes on the group in Syria.

However, the Russian Transport Minister told Interfax news agency that the IS claim “can’t be considered accurate”.

There has been no official word on the cause of the crash but preliminary assessments by security and aviation officials indicated that the plane crashed due to “technical reasons”.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi condoled the deaths in the crash. He was closely following the developments and has ordered a probe into the crash, said an official release.

Pilot Ayman Al-Mokadem, who is heading a committee to monitor the situation in the aftermath of the crash, said the crash resulted due to a “technical failure,” refuting earlier speculation that it was shot down in the restive peninsula.

He said the pilot sensed the failure and reported to the aviation authorities that he wanted to land at the nearest airport, adding that it seemed to have crashed while attempting to land in Al-Arish’s airport in North Sinai.

Flight KGL9268 belonged to the Kogalymavia airline, a small airline based in Western Siberia.

A criminal case has been opened against the airline for “violation of rules of flight and preparation for them,” Russia’s Ria news agency reported.

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