Egypt/CAIRO: A Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers crashed into a mountainous area of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Saturday shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude, killing all aboard.
A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt, Sinai Province, said in a statement it had brought down the plane “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land”, but Russia’s transport minister told Interfax news agency the claim “can’t be considered accurate”.
The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, was flying from the 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.
“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.
Both black boxes of the plane had been found, Mohamed Hossam Kemal, the civil aviation minister, told a news conference.