Egypt’s government has announced that there are no survivors from the Russian airplane that crashed in Egypt’s North Sinai shortly after take off.
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, 17 children and seven crew members, most of whom were Russian tourists.
According to RT News, rescue teams pulled out at least 100 bodies, including all 17 children, from the wreckage, which split in two.
Sources on the ground said the black boxes have been recovered from the plane, Al-Jazeera reported. Meanwhile, a criminal investigation has been launched to determine whether the crash was caused by negligence or failure to follow proper procedures.
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.
According to Sky News, the plane’s captain reported technical faults after takeoff and requested to change route.
However, Al-Ahram Arabic reported the head of Egypt’s Air Navigation as saying the plane’s pilot did not request an emergency landing before crashing.
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 in North Sinai, 93 km northwest of Taba, 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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to form a state commission to investigate the crash.
This story is developing.