A Russian airliner has crashed in central Sinai with more than 200 people on board, the office of Egypt’s prime minister has confirmed.
The Airbus A-321 had just taken off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, on its way to the Russian city of St Petersburg.
Egyptian media reports said wreckage of the plane had already been found and at least 20 ambulances sent to the scene.
Most of the passengers are said to be Russian tourists.
The plane was operated by the small Russian airline Kogalymavia, based in western Siberia. Latest reports say it was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew.
Initially there were conflicting reports about the fate of the plane, some suggesting it had disappeared over Cyprus.
But the office of Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail confirmed in a statement that a “Russian civilian plane… crashed in the central Sinai”.
It added that Mr Ismail had formed a crisis committee to deal with the crash.
The Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsiya said in a statement that flight 7K 9268 left Sharm el-Sheikh at 06:51 Moscow time (03:51 GMT) and had been due into St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport at 12:10.
The authority added that the aircraft failed to make scheduled contact with Cyprus air traffic control 23 minutes after take-off and disappeared from the radar.
A centre to help relatives of the passengers has been set up at Pulkovo airport, Tass news agency quoted St Peterburg city officials as saying.
A Metrojet (former Kogalym Avia, Kolavia) Airbus A321-200, registration EI-ETJ performing flight 7K-9268 from Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) to St. Petersburg (Russia) with 217 passengers and 7 crew, was climbing through FL307 out of Sharm el Sheikh over the Sinai Peninsula (Position N30.16 E34.17) at 04:12Z when the aircraft disappeared from radar. Wreckage of the aircraft was later located in mountaineous terrain near Al-Arish (Sinai, Egypt).
Egyptian sources were reporting the aircraft was believed crashed, a search for the aircraft in Sinai was ongoing.
Egypt’s Prime Minister confirmed the aircraft has crashed.
Egyptian Authorities reported first parts of the wreckage have been located. There is no evidence of hostile/missile activity around the flight path of the aircraft.
Russia’s Rosaviatsia (Civil Aviation Authority) reported the A321 of Kogalym Avia carried 217 passengers and 7 crew.
Sources in Sharm el Sheik reported the captain of the flight reported technical problems and requested to return to Sharm el Sheikh.
According to flightplan the aircraft was tracking between waypoints TBA (Egypt: N29.362420 E34.475080) and PASOS (Cyprus FIR, N32.216667 E33.100000) when it disappeared. Eurocontrol’s Air Flow Traffic Management (CFMU) issued a note to all operators along the route TBA-PASOS and vice versa shortly after the aircraft disappeared, that due to technical problems all flights will be tactically rerouted via MELDO until further notice. The notice was removed a couple of minutes later.
The Aviation Herald