Saturday, October 31, 2015 12:13 pm
A Russian airliner, Flight KGL9268, has, according to the BBC, 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 left the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg,” the report indicates.
Wreckage of the plane has been found in the Hassana area and bodies removed. An official described it as a “tragic scene”. Flight KGL9268 disappeared from radar screens when travelling at 9,500m (31,000ft), Egyptian officials said.
According to AFP, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the emergency ministry to dispatch rescue teams to Egypt. “The head of state has given orders to send emergency ministry (teams) to Egypt immediately to work at the plane crash site,” a statement said.
At Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, anxious family members awaited news of their loved ones.
“I am meeting my parents,” said 25-year-old Ella Smirnova, a tall young woman seemingly in shock. “I spoke to them last on the phone when they were already on the plane, and then I heard the news.”
“I will keep hoping until the end that they are alive, but perhaps I will never see them again.”
AFP reported further thatt he last major commercial airliner crash in Egypt happened in 2004, when a Flash Airlines Boeing 737 plunged into the Red Sea after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh. The 148 people aboard that flight, most of whom were French, were killed.
Millions of tourists, many of them Russian, visit the resort town, one of Egypt’s major draws for tourists looking for pristine beaches and scuba diving. The resort, and others dotting the southern Sinai Red Sea coast, are heavily secured by the military and police as an Islamist militant insurgency rages in the north of the restive peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.