An estimated 224 passengers aboard a Russian airliner flying from the popular tourist resort Sharm el-Sheikh have died after it crashed in the Sinai desert in Egypt. Company Airline Kogalymavia’s officials say the incident cannot be blamed on human error.
The flight lost all telecommunication contact with air traffic control about 23 minutes after departure. It had begun to make a steep descent at a rate of 6,000 feet per minute shortly before communications were lost.
The crash happened 60 miles south of the north Sinai town of El-Arish, where the plane’s wreckage was found.
The flight was operated by Metrojet with reaching destination St Petersburg.
According to first security forces’ sources, the initial explanation for the crash was a technical fault.
The first rescue workers at the scene described the plane as “completely destroyed”. An Egyptian security officer added that many passengers had died stuck in to their seats.
In Cairo, the Russian embassy said it was told by Egyptian officials that the pilot had been trying to make an emergency landing at El-Arish.
Egyptian search and rescue officials concluded later on that all 224 passengers, including 18 children, died in the crash.
Russian president Vladimir Putin expressed his deepest condolences to all families of victims of the crash in Sinai.
The last major plane crash that took place on Egyptian ground dates back to 2004 when a Boeing 737 plunged into the Red Sea. All 148 passengers were killed.