Sinai Plane Crash Victims Flown Back To Russia

SinaiThe bodies of over 140 people who died in Saturday’s air crash in Egypt have been flown back to Russia.

All 224 people on the plane – most of them Russians – died when it came down over the northern Sinai Peninsula. So far 163 bodies have been found.

According to Russia’s emergency ministry, which organised the flight, identification will begin later on Monday at a crematorium in Saint Petersburg where remains of the victims were to be taken in a motorcade.

Family members have been providing DNA samples at a crisis centre set up close to the airport, now the site of an impromptu memorial where people are bringing flowers and cuddly toys to commemorate the victims, many of them children as young as 10 months old.

On Sunday, Russia observed a day of mourning after experiencing its worst air disaster.

As investigations continue into the cause of the crash, Russian air transport agency head, Aleksandr Neradko, says the airliner disintegrated at high altitude.

The Kogalymavia airbus A321 came down early on Saturday, shortly after leaving the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the Russian city of St Petersburg.

Jihadists allied to the Islamic State (Is) in Sinai, claimed responsibility for the crash but Egypt’s Prime Minister dismissed claims by the Islamic State (ISIS), that it is responsible for the crash, saying a technical fault was most likely the cause.

 

Egypt Dismisses ISIS Russian Plane Crash Claims

Egypt Dismisses ISIS Russia Crash Claims Egypt’s Prime Minister has dismissed claims by the Islamic State (ISIS), that it is responsible for the crash of a Russian passenger plane in Sinai, saying a technical fault was most likely the cause.

An investigation has commenced into the cause of the crash in which all 224 people on board were killed.

Despite the Egyptian authority’s assurances, three airlines; Emirates, Air France and Lufthansa have decided not to fly over the Sinai Peninsula until more information is available.

Meanwhile, Russia is observing a day of mourning, following its worst aviation disaster.

Officials, however, said that the plane’s black boxes had been found and sent for analysis.

Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister, Hossam Kamal, said that there had been no sign of any problems on board the flight, contradicting earlier reports that the pilot had asked to make an emergency landing.

An Egyptian official had previously said that before the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers, the pilot had said the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and he intended to try to land at the nearest airport.

Egypt’s Civilian Aviation Ministry said the plane had been at an altitude of 9,450m (31,000ft) when it disappeared.

Security experts, nonetheless, said that a plane flying at that altitude would be beyond the range of a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile (Manpad), which Sinai militants are known to possess.

However, German carrier, Lufthansa, said that  it would avoid flying over the Sinai Peninsula “as long as the cause for Saturday’s crash has not been clarified”.

On Saturday evening, Air France-KLM and Emirates said they were following suit.

British Airways and EasyJet said their routes were regularly reviewed, but that they had no plans to alter their routes to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.

The plane was carrying 217 passengers, including 25 children, Russian transport authorities said. There were seven crew members on board.

Egyptian officials had said 213 of the passengers were Russian and four were Ukrainian, but Russian officials said at least one of the victims was from Belarus.

The bodies of 163 victims have so far been recovered and taken to Cairo.

The Kogalymavia airbus-321 crashed early on Saturday shortly after leaving the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the Russian city of St. Petersburg.