A 10-month-old girl gazing at the planes in St. Petersburg airport before departing to Egypt – this picture of Darina has become the symbol of the plane crash in Sinai on social media. People continue to bring flowers to mourn the tragedy.
Darina Gromova was among the 224 people who died on Kolavia flight 7K9268. It was returning from Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh resort to Russia’s St. Petersburg on Saturday morning when it suddenly vanished from radar over the Sinai Peninsula.
Her parents – mother Tatiana and father Aleksey – were also among those killed in the crash.
“Main passenger. #family. #darinagromova. Pulkovo International Airport Saint-Petersburg New Terminal 1,” wrote Tatiana hours before their plane took off from St. Petersburg to Sinai. Little did she know that this photo would become the grieving symbol of the tragic flight.
People across Russia took to social media to say how touched they were by the story of little Darina. The hashtag #mainpassenger has taken to Twitter.
“RIP, Little angel,” “I feel pity for these people, especially for this little miracle who was only 10 months old,” “I am sobbing all day,” wrote users on Twitter.
Twenty-five children are believed to have been on board, along with 192 adults – nearly 140 of whom were women.
The flight disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes after taking off. Those on the crashed Airbus A321 were mostly holidaymakers. The Egyptian Red Sea destination is popular among Russian tourists all year round.
An overwhelming majority of people on board were Russian nationals. Three Ukrainians and one Belarus citizen are also reportedly among the crash victims. The catastrophe is the deadliest in Russian aviation history.
‘We just can’t be indifferent’: Tribute to plane crash victims
On Sunday, Russia is mourning the victims of the Sinai plane crash.
Dozens of people have gathered in St. Petersburg to pay tribute to the victims. People laid flowers and candles at the place where the plane was supposed to land in Pulkovo Airport. The governor of Russia’s northern capital has extended the mourning period until Tuesday.
“I don’t know any of the victims, but I am from St. Petersburg myself and my family is. I have two small children and I just can’t be indifferent when things like that happen,” one woman told RT.
“Things like this can happen to anyone, they happen all the time, no one is safe… And it is very sad,” a man holding a small child added.
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
Six Russian women in a sealed room and it may get hot – no this isn’t a scene from a movie, but a scientific experiment dubbed ‘Luna-2015’. For eight whole days these female scientists will learn how to survive in conditions imitating flight to the moon.
The purpose of this ‘girls-only’ flight is to see how females will respond to conditions in space mentally and what physical adaptations they will have to endure.
The whole imitation experiment takes place in the Institute of Medical-Biological problems near Moscow and it will last eight days – three to ‘reach’ the Moon, two for ‘orbiting’ the Earth’s satellite and three more days to ‘return’. During these days, six women will learn how to interact with each other and live in a confined space.
In August, the institute chose 10 female candidates, for two months each has undergone numerous tests, both psychological and physical to prove that she is suitable for the ‘job’. On Tuesday, the project leaders announced six lucky stars, who are now sealed off in the Luna-2015 capsule.
“It’s a scientific project. We have over 30 experiments during these studies. We have a lot of things to do inside,” Daria Komissarova, a crew member, told RT.
RT correspondent William Whiteman visited the facility ahead of the experiment’s start. The premises look like a common apartment – a small cozy kitchen with pretty flowers on the table, gym and several rooms. But the women will have to experience the same conditions in terms of comfort as space travelers at the ISS.
Cameras will be recording the women’s every move. All of them will carry out experiments to analyze how they bodies would react during the ‘space’ trip. They will also test their stress levels during the simulation.
“This method is used to understand how threshold of pain sensitivity alters during flight,” another ‘moon traveler’, Tatiana Shigueva, explained pointing at one of the devices on the table. “It will be used during our experiment.”
According to the project leader Sergey Ponomarev, such experiments with females-only crew haven’t been carried out yet. Any technical fault or an emergency situation may lead to serious consequences, says the institute’s website.