Rescue teams locate wreckage of Airbus A-321 belonging to Metrojet which came down in central Sinai Peninsula.by Al Jazeera
A Russian plane carrying more than 200 people has crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said.
The statement said search-and-rescue teams found on Saturday the wreckage of the Russian passenger jet in the Hassana area, south of the city of el-Arish, where Egyptian security forces are fighting a local affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
It said the plane took off from Sinai Peninsula’s Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular destination for Russian tourists, and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes after take-off.
Egyptian search and rescue team members said they heard voices in a section of the plane, an officer on the scene told Reuters news agency.
The black box which contains the flight data was also found at the scene.
“There is another section of the plane with passengers inside that the rescue team is still trying to enter and we hope to find survivors especially after hearing pained voices of people inside,” the officer said.
Separately, Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash, a source at his office said.
Nabil Sadek, the prosecutor general, ordered the formation of a team of prosecutors tasked with going to the site of the crash and investigating the debris.
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.
The office of the Eyptian prime minister, Sharif Ismail, earlier confirmed that a Russian airliner with more than 200 people on board had crashed in central Sinai.
The Airbus 321 was at an altitude of 9,450m when it vanished from radar screens, the ministry said in a statement.
Most of the passengers are said to be Russian tourists, according to reports. The plane was operated by the small Russian airline Kogalymavia, based in western Siberia.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) October 31, 2015
The pilot reportedly requested clearance for an emergency landing at Cairo airport due to a technical malfunction.
Plane tracking website Flight Radar said Metrojet flight #7K9268 disappeared over Egypt 23 minutes after departure from Sharm el-Sheikh.
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 said the aircraft failed to make scheduled contact with Cyprus air traffic control 23 minutes after take-off and disappeared from the radar.
A Cyprus Civil Aviation official said Cairo air traffic control notified Cypriot authorities that they had lost contact with a Russian aircraft early on Saturday.
The official said the aircraft’s last contact was with Egyptian Authorities before disappearing.
He said the aircraft did not make contact with Cypriot authorities.
Turkish government spokespersons said they had no information about the missing Russian plane ever entering Turkish airspace.
Security sources in the Sinai Peninsula later confirmed reports that an aircraft was missing.