A Russian plane with 224 passengers disappeared from the radars and crashed into mountainous area of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Saturday morning, killing all aboard.
Kolavia Flight 7K9268, an Airbus A321, went off radar 23 minutes after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, Sergey Izvolskiy told the media citing preliminary data. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and 7 crewmembers, he added. Seventeen of the passengers were children.
The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, was flying from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it went down in central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said.
The Russian embassy in Egypt said all on board were Russian citizens. Later, the Belorussian embassy said one of the passengers was Belorussian. Egyptian authorities claimed that there were 3 Ukrainian victims on board. Later, it was confirmed that the Ukrainians were 2.
A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt, Sinai Province, said in a twitter post that they are responsible for the tragedy “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land”, but Russia’s Transport Minister told Interfax news agency the claim “can’t be considered accurate”. According to Egyptian and Russian authorities it is too early to draw any conclusions about what caused the crash of the plane.
The rapid drop the Airbus 321 reportedly experienced before crashing indicates pretty unusual circumstances and would suggest an emergency descent maneuver conducted by the crew, Captain Richard Woodward, former vice-president of the Australian and International Pilots’ Association.
“If engines had failed, that would give you a dramatic loss of speed initially, but the crew would have lowered the nose and commit what is called a glide descent,” he explained. “My initial thought was that it might have been an emergency descent by the crew because they had a pressurization problem or dare I say perhaps a bomb on board.” Bodies were being removed from the scene and transported to various hospitals with 34 arriving in the Zeinhom morgue in Cairo early in the evening.
This Sunday is declared to be a day of national mourning for the crash victims in Russia.
Written by Yoana for South Front