Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail confirmed earlier on Saturday that a passenger aircraft crashed over Sinai. The plane, flight Kogalymavia 9268, was carrying 200 adults, seven children and 17 crew members, most of whom were Russian tourists.
According to BBC, the Russian aviation authority said in a statement that the flight, which was due to arrive in St. Petersburg a 12:10 Moscow time, left Sharm el Sheikh at 6:51 am. The plane was due to make contact with Cyprus air traffic control 23 minutes after takeoff but disappeared from the radar.
Pilot Ayman Al-Mokadem, who is heading a committee to monitor the crash’s aftermath, said that the plane crashed due to technical failures while attempting to land at Al-Arish airport in North Sinai and was not shot down, Al-Ahram Online reported.
A flight radar search of flight KGL9268 shows it suddenly dropping to a speed of 62 knots (115 km/h) after, minutes earlier, the plane was travelling at up to 400km/h.
General Essam Khedr, general manager of South Sinai’s operation center, announced the plane crashed 93 km northwest of Taba in Southern Sinai, Egyptian state media Al-Ahram reported.
Al-Ahram also reported the Cabinet’s spokesman, Ambassador Hossam El Qawish said that 50 ambulances have been sent to the scene of the crash to carry the dead and injured to nearby hospitals, while planes have also been sent as part of a rescue mission.
According to Russia’s Sputnik News Agency, an eyewitness at the scene said that the plane was completely destroyed and that all on board were killed.
Reuters reported officials at the scene as saying voices of trapped passengers could be heard in a section of the plane.
However, an official death toll has yet to be announced.
This story is developing.