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Egypt plane crash: Pilot spoke of technical problems, 100 bodies recovered

Egypt’s civil aviation minister has said that an investigative team has arrived at the Russian plane crash site in the Sinai peninsula to examine the debris and try to locate the flight’s data and cockpit voice recorders, commonly known as the black box.

Several Egyptian military and security officials say there are no survivors from the Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

They also said that all the victims in Saturday’s Metrojet plane crash were Russian citizens. Russian president Vladimir Putin has declared November 1 as the day of mourning.

An Egyptian aviation official had earlier said that the pilot of the Russian airliner that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula had reported technical difficulties before losing contact with air traffic controllers.

Ayman al-Muqadem, a member of the Aviation Incidents Committee, had said the pilot had reported his intention to attempt to land at the nearest airport.

Egyptian authorities say the Metrojet plane took off early Saturday from Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular Red Sea tourist destination, heading for St Petersburg carrying 217 passengers and 7 crew members.

Plane tracking website Flight Radar said the flight disappeared from radar 23 minutes after take-off. Egyptian authorities say it crashed in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

Egypt’s government said the plane’s wreckage has been located. “Military planes have discovered the wreckage of the plane… in a mountainous area, and 45 ambulances have been directed to the site to evacuate dead and wounded,” a cabinet statement said.

More than 100 bodies have been recovered from the wreckage so far. Mahmud al-Zinati, head of Egypt’s civil aviation authority, said 17 children were among the casualties.

The cabinet statement also quoted Egyptian civil aviation minister Mohamed Hossam Kemal as saying that it was “too soon to determine the cause” of the crash.

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