Russian plane crashes in Egypt
MOSCOW/CAIRO – Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared 1 November a national day of mourning following the crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt, the Kremlin press service said on Saturday.
Egyptian authorities later confirmed all 224 on board had died.
Earlier, Putin ordered the emergency ministry to dispatch rescue teams to Egypt, where the passenger plane crashed on Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula.
“The head of state has given orders to send emergency ministry (teams) to Egypt immediately to work at the plane crash site,” a Kremlin statement said.
Putin also ordered the government to launch a special commission “due to the catastrophe of Kogalymavia company plane in Egypt,” the statement said.
In Egypt, military planes spotted the wreckage of the plane in the Sinai peninsula and 45 ambulances were directed there to evacuate the dead and injured, the government said.
Later that day, Egyptian authorities located the black box containing flight data, security sources said.
They said 15 bodies had been recovered from the site and transferred to a morgue.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ismail Sharif went to an airport at the edge of the peninsula from where “15 bodies were airlifted to the Zeinhom morgue in Cairo”, the government said in a statement.
The head of Egypt’s civil aviation authority had said there were “many” dead including 17 children after the plane carrying 224 crashed.
An emergency ministry meeting shown on Russian television announced that teams of rescue workers along with the emergency minister, Vladimir Puchkov, will fly out to Egypt at 1300 GMT.
Russia’s transport minister Maksim Sokolov and the head of Russia’s air transport agency Alexander Neradko are also leaving for the site, Russian agencies quoted the ministry’s representative as saying.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had launched a criminal probe into any possible violation of air safety rules, a standard procedure when air crashes involving Russian planes occur. It is also sending investigators to the scene.
Russia’s air transport agency Rosaviatsia said that the plane, an Airbus 321, was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew when it disappeared from the radar after taking off for Saint Petersburg from the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
It was operated by Kogalymavia, an airline carrying out charter flights for tourism operators, and operating under the brand Metrojet.
The charter flight booked by Moscow-based tourist firm Brisco, a representative of the firm told AFP.